Dynasty Profile: Chase Claypool
As we continue our breakdown of the 2020 NFL Rookie Class, we’ll discuss one of the deeper options in today’s article.
With a current average-draft-position of roughly 3.07 in 12-man dynasty rookie drafts, Claypool is one of those late targets many like to opt for.
With putting so little draft capital into him, many are hoping to get the boom without risking the bust, although the Steelers put a high draft capital into him.
The first question, and I guess only question, we have to tackle here is, is there room for him in the Steelers’ offense for not only the 2020 season but for the future?
Last season, the Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger, as they had to opt for the likes of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges to lead the way.
Across the season, Rudolph, Hodges and the two games Big Ben played, the trio of Steelers’ quarterbacks had a total statline of 311-505, 3,179 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Of those, 169 completions, 299 targets, 2,166 yards and 11 touchdowns were thrown to wide receivers.
Now, the Steelers are only losing 11 completions, 40 targets and 100 yards from a season ago.
They retain Diontae Johnson (23-years-old), James Washington (24-years-old) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (23-years-old) from a year ago, who made up 81-percent of receiver targets, 86-percent of receiver completions, 91-percent of receiver yards and 100-percent of receiver touchdowns.
From a season ago, that would leave just 57 targets, 24 receptions, 199 yards and zero touchdowns for the receivers beyond their big three.
Now, if we are to assume that Ben Roethlisberger will be back for the 2020 season, there is no doubt that his numbers would be much greater than what the duo of Rudolph and Hodges put up last season.
In 2018, Ben’s last full season, he went for 452-675, 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns.
That’s 170 more attempts, 141 more completions, 1,950 more yards and 16 touchdowns than what the Steelers’ quarterbacks did last season.
The 38-year-old Big Ben fresh off of a season ending injury surely won’t repeat his career high numbers of 2018.
If we give Ben 50-less attempts than 2018, or 120 more than the Steelers had a season ago, we can project his 2020 line to be 419-625, 4,735 yards and 28 touchdowns.
If we use the same percentages that the receivers had a year ago, those returning will make up 256 receptions, 376 targets, 3,646 yards and 20 touchdowns.
So outside of Johnson, Washington and Smith-Schuster, there would be 74 receptions, 736 yards and zero touchdowns to go around.
Now, we need to figure out where Claypool fits into all of this.
Claypool is 6-foot-3 and 238-pounds. He’s unlike anything the Steelers currently have.
Smith-Schuster is 6-foot-1 as Johnson and Washington are both 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11 respectively.
Investing a second round pick, we can assume that the Steelers plan to implement Claypool heavily, removing one of Washington or Johnson from the equation or knocking both of their values down to equal one output of a year ago.
Johnson and Washington combined for 172 targets, 103 receptions, 1,415 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
If we take a third of their targets each, and give them to the high-flying Claypool who has a vertical of 40.5 on top of his 6-foot-3 frame, he’ll receive 58 targets from them.
Using 16-game averages, outside Johnson, Smith-Schuster and Washington, there is 88 receptions left over.
If we take a third of that and too give it to Claypool, his total targets could round out to be 88 targets himself.
Let’s give him a 60-percent catch-percentage for this example, giving him 53 receptions.
Using our projected 2020 line for Ben, his average yards-per-completion to wide receivers would be 14.2. This would put Claypool at a total of 752 yards.
If Ben throws a touchdown on 5-percent of his passes to wide receivers, this would give Claypool four touchdowns as well.
This would give Claypool a fantasy football line of 152.2 fantasy points. This would have placed him in a tie for WR45.
Coming off the board as the average 39th rookie taken in dynasty rookie drafts, I’d say there's enough boom there without much chance of a bust.