Fantasy Football: Chase Claypool should be a top waiver wire pickup

Chase Claypool's fantasy performance in Week 5 was dominant (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Chase Claypool's fantasy performance in Week 5 was dominant (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Chase Claypool will be a hot commodity on the waiver wire

When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Chase Claypool out of Notre Dame with the 49th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, there were people wondering exactly how big his role in the offense would be and whether you could use him in fantasy football.

Week 5 answered those questions.

Claypool destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, catching seven of his 11 targets for 110 yards and three touchdowns while adding three rushes for six yards and a touchdown. Fantasy managers shouldn’t be counting on him being given multiple opportunities to carry the football every week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fluke. He rushed once in Week 1 and, while that’s not exciting volume, the fact that they’re willing to get creative with him should provide more opportunities.

Who is Chase Claypool?

Claypool is the prototype at wide receiver. 6-foot-4, 238 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the NFL Combine. His size caused some brief conversations about whether he’d be converted to tight end and used similarly to a player like Evan Engram, but the Steelers viewed him as a wide receiver. Claypool impressed from the moment he arrived in Pittsburgh, impressing his teammates and coaches in preseason, despite not having the opportunity to play any games.

While Claypool undoubtedly impressed working out in shorts as part of the pre-draft process, his resume from his time at Notre Dame was equally impressive. He took over as the number one receiver for the Fighting Irish in 2019 and finished his senior season with 66 receptions for 1037 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games.

Should I start Chase Claypool in fantasy?

It might be a little early to start Chase Claypool in fantasy unless you’re playing in a league with 14 or more teams but it definitely warrants consideration. His targets increased in each of his three previous games (2, 3, 4) but it wasn’t until Week 5 when he really became a featured part of the offense.

The Steelers no longer have a player who will dominate targets each week like they did with Antonio Brown for so many years but there are still plenty of options for Ben Roethlisberger to throw to. Claypool is competing for targets at wide receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington, while Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, and James Conner, amongst others, will all likely be involved.

Claypool is unlikely to lead the team in targets every week in the way that he did in Week 5 but his involvement should continue to grow. Diontae Johnson left the game against the Eagles in the first quarter with a back injury and didn’t return, which opened up opportunities for the rookie. If Johnson misses more time then Claypool will be one of the big beneficiaries, having showcased exactly what he’s capable of.

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If Claypool is available on the waiver wire in your fantasy league then he’s definitely worth a speculative add. Roethlisberger has shown over his career that he’s willing to throw the ball and if Claypool can get on the end of some of his deep shots then it won’t take much for him to be fantasy relevant.