Chase Claypool: An Underdog Story
Chase Claypool has been flying under the radar his whole football career. From his days at Notre Dame, to even his rookie season in Pittsburgh, nobody seemed to really buy in to Claypool. The only buyers? The Steelers. They bought in, using a 2nd round draft pick last year to invest in the young playmaker.
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Claypool didn‘t really find his stride until his senior year for the Fighting Irish. His catches, yards, and touchdowns only increased as the years went on, and he finally broke that 1,000 yard threshold in his last year. His touchdowns saw a big increase from his junior to his senior year, jumping from 4 to 13. He had a knack for finding the end zone, and that carried into his rookie year.
The former Notre Dame Irishman came in as an underdog, only seeing his dynasty value jump due to rookie fever. For months during last offseason, the community couldn’t decide if James Washington or Chase Claypool was going to be the #3 behind Diontae Johnson and Juju Smith-Schuster. It seemed the Steelers struggled making this decision too, as we saw Claypool and Washington rotate snaps more often than not.
Claypool really broke out this year, despite horrendous QB play from Ben Roethlisberger. Claypool saw 109 targets, while only catching 62. Only 71% of Claypool’s targets we‘re deemed catchable, one of the lowest rates in all of the NFL. He has a knack for the pylons, as stated previously; he totaled 11 TDs on 72 total touches. TD rates are usually unstable and not easy to predict, but he has a good track record when it comes to scoring. While Claypool made things happen when he got the ball, one has to hope his situation will improve.
Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger agreed to stay together for another year, and while this doesn’t look like the best thing for Claypool, one can hope Big Ben can have even a little bit of a rejuvenated arm come 2021. Having DJ and Juju still in town helps for Claypool, as they seem to stretch the middle of the field better than most WR duos. The field will open up for Claypool and he’ll take advantage again. Claypool‘s value in dynasty is low for what the other 2020 WR‘s have, and now is the time to buy. 2022 is when it’ll get interesting for Claypool and the Steelers. It seems they want to run it back after signing Roethlisberger, and they will need to address to QB situation once he does hang the cleats up. Whether it’s in this draft, next year's, or in free agency, improving the QB position will certainly be the most important thing when highlighting Claypool’s long term stability.
Claypool has a lot of traction off the field, whether it was his TikTok videos or the video that surfaced from TMZ of him in a bar fight. Christian Williams of The Cut, or @CWilliamsNFL over on Twitter, said he’s the meanest Canadian he’s ever seen! All jokes aside, Claypool seems to have not only the physical stature, but the WR traits it takes to become a true dominant force on the outside. From his catch radius, to his ability to break tackles and create yards, he does it all at such a young age.
Anyone that doesn’t own Claypool, should go out and try to acquire him. He’s valued at a price that seems undervalued for a rookie that saw success, not only because of his teammates but because of his talent. Claypool really impressed me in 2020 with what he did, and if he continues to improve and become that true #1 WR, he will be a must own in dynasty for years to come.