Chase Claypool burst onto the scene in 2020 on the field and through a fantasy football perspective, resulting in a quick star turn for the former Notre Dame golden-domer.
Quickly, Claypool became a guy teams had to try and take away, and those playing fantasy football tried to get their hands on any way that they could. Though he fell off down the stretch and became less and less of a threat on the field and nearly unplayable in fantasy football, CBS Sports believes the second-year Steelers’ wide receiver is a fantasy football sleeper for the 2021 season.
The sleeper label for Claypool from CBS Sports comes just a few days after Pro Football Focus said Claypool was a breakout candidate as well.
“One of the 2021 Fantasy football sleepers the model is predicting: Steelers receiver Chase Claypool,” CBS Sports writes. “The Notre Dame product was the 11th receiver drafted last year, but led all rookies with nine receiving touchdowns to go along with 62 catches for 873 yards. A versatile player, Claypool added another two rushing touchdowns and returned WR2 value for Pittsburgh.
“Claypool did all of this despite the Steelers limiting his snaps to avoid hitting the proverbial rookie wall. He played 62.9 percent of snaps last season, which ranked behind both JuJu Smith-Schuster (83.9) and Diontae Johnson (66.6). As the team’s best deep threat and red zone target, Claypool should see a boost in playing time. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is another year removed from elbow reconstruction, which will also help Claypool’s production.”
While it is true that Roethlisberger will be another full year removed from reconstructive elbow surgery, CBS Sports seems to be overlooking the fact that the Steelers have placed a significant emphasis on reestablishing the run game with rookie Najee Harris, which will take away targets from all three of Smith-Schuster, Johnson, and Claypool.
With a renewed emphasis on the run game, that could hinder Claypool’s ability to truly break out from a fantasy perspective in 2021, regardless of snap counts and red zone options. However, it’s worth noting Claypool could have had an even bigger season in 2020, leaving a number of home run balls on the field by failing to come down with the football. Some of that had to do with Roethlisberger’s inability to consistently place the football in catchable areas, so with another year back from elbow surgery that could improve in 2021.
It’s quite clear Claypool has the size, skills and mindset to truly become a star in the NFL on the field and from a fantasy football perspective.