Chase Claypool was supposed to have a breakout second season in the NFL, but that was limited by Ben Roethlisberger's inability to consistently throw downfield last year.
Over the final four weeks of the season, Claypool led the Pittsburgh Steelers in air yards with a share of 27 percent. If the Steelers can get improved downfield quarterback play from Mitch Trubisky (maybe eventually Kenny Pickett), brighter days should be coming for Claypool.
After collecting only one of his 12 end-zone targets during the previous season, Claypool is similarly overdue for positive touchdown movement in 2022. The 6-foot-5 WR has shown potency in scoring touchdowns, of course. He was one of only eight wide receivers to record double-digit touchdowns as a rookie since 1998.
However, Claypool also needs to look over his shoulder going into his third season. Rookie WR George Pickens has been eager to replace Diontae Johnson as the No. 2 offensive player in 2022. That means target share will likely get spread around.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) July 31, 2022
Still, experts anticipate that Claypool will see a significant increase in receptions per game (he had 3.9 in 2021). They hope he will finally turn around into a respectable Fantasy starter if the Steelers system continues to feature more short throws and if Claypool plays inside more frequently.
Claypool could be this year's fantasy football boom-or-bust receiver. Many fans think Claypool has great potential and that he will benefit from having a new quarterback. Still, is he really worth a top-75 pick in fantasy drafts? Does he have more potential than a young player like Skyy Moore or Drake London?
Chase Claypool’s 2022 fantasy football outlook
At the end of the day, it would still be wise to eventually choose Claypool. That's if you have at least two alternative reliable receiver options already. Prospective owners must just consider the risks. A fantasy squad with 1-3 players like Claypool may win a title. On the flip side, a team with a whole roster of Claypools will probably fail.
Having said that, Claypool has continued to offer Steelers fans confidence that he may still be a real threat across the board. Over the course of his first two seasons, he has now amassed 121 catches for 1,633 yards. He should have plenty of chances to serve as the No. 2 receiver in the passing game this season. Claypool moves up now that JuJu Smith-Schuster is in Kansas City.
— Steelers Fans (@SteelersNewsNow) August 4, 2022
Claypool may be available as a low-risk bench option in fantasy drafts. That is amazing given how many people were eager to select him in 2021. Having fallen way short in his second season, Claypool stated that he plans to line up more widely to create mismatches. That should include more time spent in the slot. That's where his catch percentage was significantly higher (80%). In addition, his yards after the catch per reception were higher (6.17) than when he was out wide.
Keep in mind, though, that Claypool's sophomore season numbers did not meet expectations. He only managed two touchdowns in the previous season after scoring nine in 2020. Claypool had both physical and emotional breakdowns, too. Some have questioned his ability to stay on his feet and his game IQ, which seems odd for someone as agile as he is. This is why some are high on George Pickens to supplant Claypool as WR2 in Pittsburgh.
For Claypool, this will be a crucial season. Will he develop and have stats worthy of a No. 2 or will he regress? Claypool ought to be the fourth receiver on your team going into 2022. Due to the bias fans still have stemming from his superb rookie campaign, Claypool is being selected too early so far in early drafts. Keep your distance from him; the floor is more likely than the ceiling.