Sunday AM update: The Steelers will be without Diontae Johnson, which is a big boost to Chase Claypool’s value. Meanwhile, the Browns will be without safeties Karl Joseph and Ronnie Harrison. It’s going to be interesting to see how Claypool looks after a big breakout performance last week and suddenly more of a focus for the Browns defense. He is a solid starting option, but rookie receivers can be inconsistent, so keep that in mind.
More than any other team in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to uncover quality wide receivers in the draft outside the first round. In just the last few years, they landed includes Diontae Johnson, James Washington, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, each on the second day of their respective drafts. All have become starters or consistent contributors in the Pittsburgh passing game.
Now, the Steelers can add Chase Claypool to that list.
The No. 49 overall pick this past April, Claypool has already flashed play-making ability and superstar potential. With the rookie’s star quickly rising, fantasy managers must quickly figure out whether to deploy him in their lineups.
Fantasy Football analysis: Steelers WR Chase Claypool
Any discussion involving Claypool has to begin with his monster of a performance in Week 5. Not only did the rookie deliver his best stat line as a receiver (seven catches on 11 targets for 110 yards and three touchdowns), but he also factored into the ground game in a meaningful way (three carries for 6 yards and a score). While he’s unlikely to match the four total touchdowns again this season, the workload suggests that the Steelers see him as an increasingly vital piece of their offense.
And fortunately for Claypool, he draws a favorable matchup with a banged-up Cleveland Browns defense on Sunday. Through five games, the Browns have allowed eight touchdowns and more than 1,000 receiving yards to wideouts. And with Johnson ruled out due to a back injury and Smith-Schuster still banged up with a knee issue, Claypool has a fairly clear path to production.
Even so, rookie wideouts tend to fluctuate enough that Claypool owners need to carefully consider their options. Look no further than last week’s three-catch, 23-yard letdown from Justin Jefferson for proof. That doesn’t mean Claypool shouldn’t be considered a fantasy football start in Week 6. Rather, fantasy managers should carefully manage their expectations of him.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Start Claypool as WR3/flex.