Chase Claypool Trade: Fantasy Impact on Darnell Mooney, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Others

What is the fantasy impact of Chase Claypool's trade to the Bears, and how does it impact Darnell Mooney, Diontae Johnson, and others?

Ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline, the news of a Chase Claypool trade rocked the fantasy football landscape. While it was expected that Claypool might be moved, the Chicago Bears being the landing spot was somewhat of a surprise. Let’s examine the fantasy impact of the trade for Claypool on the WR himself, as well as the other fantasy assets in Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Fantasy Impact of the Chase Claypool Trade

This move for Claypool is somewhat murky in terms of how it adjusts his fantasy value for the 2022 season. In Pittsburgh, Claypool was averaging 6.25 targets per game, placing him third on the team. He was behind both Diontae Johnson (9.5 targets per game) and Pat Freiermuth (6.86).

Claypool was seeing a 17.5% target share in Pittsburgh. With the Steelers throwing the ball on average 35.8 times per game, that ended up being a reasonable volume, if not incredible. The problem is that Claypool is now heading to an offense that averages just 20 passing attempts per game. Therefore, to even match his 6.25 targets per game, Claypool would need a whopping 31.25% target share.

It is more than possible that Claypool’s target share will go up in Chicago. The depth of receiving option with the Bears has less depth. Darnell Mooney leads the group at 5.5 targets per game, with Equanimeous St. Brown at 2.88 and Cole Kmet at 2.5. There is certainly enough opportunity for Claypool to step in as the WR2 or even the 1B to Mooney’s 1A.

MORE: Fantasy Impact Following T.J. Hockenson Trade

Additionally, the hope will be that with Claypool on board, we may see the Bears’ offense continue to open up. QB Justin Fields has consistently thrown the ball over 20 times per game in the past five weeks. However, for Claypool to even match his 6.25 targets per game at a 25% target share, we would need to see Fields throw the ball consistently 25 times per game.

The hope was that any trade for Claypool would see his fantasy value increase. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Instead, this might actually represent a stagnation of his value compared to what we’ve seen in Pittsburgh. That is a concern for a receiver that has averaged just 7.8 fantasy points per game as the WR55 so far this year.

Following the trade, Claypool remains a big-play and touchdown-dependent fantasy option. That reduces his potential value to deeper leagues, such as 16 teams. He’s an upside stash in 14-team leagues, but it might be hard to trust him on a consistent basis.

Fantasy Impact on Darnell Mooney

Analysis by Ian Wharton

The addition of Claypool to the Bears’ receiving room certainly isn’t good news for Mooney. Mooney has already been a drop candidate for fantasy managers since he hasn’t reached the end zone yet. Yet, his last five games have been more promising, averaging 67.4 yards across that span.

Claypool won’t take a consistent number of targets away from Mooney because he’s more of a variance player who thrives despite an inefficient catch rate. But the concern for Mooney is losing any number of quality targets, as he’s only seen more than six in a game one time. Siphoning even two away from Mooney is harmful to his fantasy value.

The red-zone potential of Claypool’s massive 6’4″ frame may also hinder Mooney’s upside. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy hasn’t shown the ability to maximize his playmakers’ skill sets yet creatively. And I’m concerned he’ll fall back on relying on Claypool’s size and catch radius to win jump balls, despite the fact Claypool doesn’t excel through contact.

Fantasy Impact on Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth

Analysis by Ian Wharton

While the loss of Claypool isn’t harmful to an anemic Steelers’ passing offense, his departing six targets a game can provide small boosts to more fantasy-relevant players. Johnson is already leading the team by almost 30 targets but has yet to score a touchdown. I don’t see him benefiting as much from this deal as Pickens and Freiermuth.

Pickens is the perfect successor for Claypool’s ideal role and can be much better and more efficient in it. Unfortunately, the Steelers haven’t consistently identified this and exploited the talent gap between the two players until this trade. Pickens’ snap count has been consistent all season and doesn’t have much room to grow. Hopefully, Matt Canada will do a better job prioritizing him.

MORE: Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer Week 9

With Claypool only getting four targets in the red zone all season, Pickens and Freiermuth will need to do more damage between the 20s unless the offense gets into scoring position more frequently.

Until the offense as a whole can create more valuable targets for Johnson, Pickens, and Freiermuth, the trade doesn’t greatly affect any singular playmaker. Their limitations still exist because of other factors the pass catchers can’t control. The best case is Pickens gets more volume to become more of a consistent start option if he gets the majority of Claypool’s targets.

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