This past week on the CBS Fantasy Football Today Podcast with Adam Aizer, Heath Cummings, and Jacob Gibbs, the three highlighted several advanced stats including on/off-the-field scripts and usage, teammate discrepancies, and more.
When Gibbs, who also does statical studies for Sports Line as well as CBS Fantasy, started listing the wide receivers who drastically outproduced their teammates in terms of yards-per-route-run last season, he started off listing several names one would figure to top the list including Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, and Tyreek Hill. However, after naming a couple more receivers at the top of the list, Gibbs shared a Pittsburgh Steelers WR that isn’t often referred to as the #1 target on his team: Chase Claypool.
“Another guy that really stood out was Chase Claypool. He had the tenth-best discrepancy against wide receiver teammates in terms of fantasy points per target which is really shocking with Diontae Johnson on his team,” Gibbs said on the podcast which also aired on the company’s YouTube channel. “He also stood out when it comes to yards-per-route-run. He was 24% above his Pittsburgh wide receiver teammates which was the highest of any WR2 in the NFL.”
According to Playerprofiler.com, Chase Claypool had an ADOT of 11.5 in 2021 while also averaging 8.2 yards-per-target on 484 routes run. To compare those same metrics to Diontae Johnson in 2021, Johnson averaged 6.9 yards-per-target on an ADOT of 8.2 on 594 routes run. According to the site, Claypool averaged less fantasy points-per-target than Johnson last season (1.59 to 1.62), but this also could be factoring total routes run and the difference in targets compared to Johnson and Claypool. When it comes to YPRR, Claypool should stick out over Johnson considering Johnson’s ADOT and YPR were so low compared to what Claypool was asked to do in the offense, operating more as the Z-receiver to stretch the field with Johnson working more short and intermediate.
Still, while the role in the offense and overall usage can skew some stats here, it’s encouraging to see Claypool stick out in some of these advanced metrics, leading Gibbs to believe that he could have a bounce back season in 2022 based on what happens at the QB position. Should his role change in the offense where he plays more of the big slot role this season, as well as one of Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, or Mason Rudolph be able to better connect with him on the deep ball compared to Ben last season, it’s plausible to see Claypool replicate his rookie season numbers compared to a down 2021 campaign.
Still, Claypool must come through in his own personal development in terms of winning more contested catches and doing better at consistently getting yards after the catch, but these are issues that he is well aware of heading into the offseason, stating multiple times that he has looked to improve these aspects during the offseason in preparation for Year Three. Claypool left a sour taste in fans’ mouths last year after a breakout rookie season, but the book should be closed so quickly on a young receiver who is still growing into the player he can be at the NFL level.