Fantasy News & Analysis

Steelers’ Chase Claypool exits Tuesday's practice with leg injury

Unfortunate injury news struck the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, as star second-year wideout Chase Claypool suffered an apparent leg injury just two plays before the end of practice. He was helped off the field by veterans Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Ebron while favoring his right leg. 

NFL Media's Mike Garafolo, however, provided the Steelers' faithful with an early sigh of relief shortly after the injury was reported.

ESPN's Adam Schefter added further clarity soon after, reporting that a source told him the early diagnosis is a “minor ankle sprain” and that Claypool “should be fine.”

FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT

Claypool is currently WR29 in PFF’s consensus PPR rankings and was projected to accumulate 74 receptions, 993 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 before the injury. The Notre Dame product finished as the WR22 in PPR leagues as a rookie. His target rate per route run (24.3%) was the fifth-highest rate for a rookie wide receiver since 2013. 

Diontae Johnson locked-and-loaded top Steelers’ WR: Johnson led Pittsburgh’s trio of wide receivers when healthy last season with a 26% target share. Without Claypool in the lineup, Johnson’s an even safer bet to lead the team in targets. His WR25 ADP is far too cheap and will inevitably increase with his floor extremely secure.  Click here for PFF's Wide Receiver Rankings & Tiers…

A big opportunity for JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster had fallen to the wayside because of Claypool’s potential ascent in Year 2, but the injury changes the entire narrative. He’s now a screaming value at WR39 as a sure-fire bet to command a healthy target share. Alongside an active Claypool and Johnson last season, Smith-Schuster posted a solid 16.1 fantasy points per game (14th). Click here for PFF's Fantasy Projections…

New role for James Washington: The Steelers are going to run the ball more in 2021, so the chances of them supporting three top-24 fantasy wide receivers for a second consecutive season were already slim. Washington is likely going to see a massive spike in ADP based on Claypool’s injury and savvy managers should look away if it inflates substantially. Despite a solid 19% target share, Washington averaged just 10.7 fantasy points per game (WR54) when operating as the team’s No. 3 option when Johnson missed time last season. His profile as a vertical threat (15.2 career aDOT) may not age well with Big Ben’s declining arm. Click here for PFF's Fantasy Rankings…

More 12 personnel: Pittsburgh will also lean more on their top two tight ends — Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth — to make up for the loss of Claypool. They each get a slight fantasy boost, but not enough to consider drafting in most formats. Click here for PFF's Tight End Rankings & Tiers…

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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