- Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
- Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
- Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate
Nobody has a more stacked lineup of fantasy analysts and NFL team reporters than ESPN. It’s the rare backfield by committee that’s actually a good thing for fantasy managers. Every Tuesday, we’ll ask our NFL Nation reporters a series of burning questions to help inform your waiver-wire pickups and roster decisions.
In case you needed a reminder of how unpredictable fantasy can be, the three leading scorers in Week 5 were wide receivers Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham and Brandin Cooks (who had zero catches a week earlier).
The good news is that you can now grab these guys off the waiver wire in many leagues if you’re thin at receiver — along with a handful of others we have highlighted below.
But which ones can you actually trust moving forward? As always, our NFL Nation crew is here to help.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers’ second-round draft pick (8.8% rostered in ESPN leagues) became the first rookie in NFL history with three receiving touchdowns and one rushing TD in a game — finishing with seven catches for 110 yards and three rushes for 6 yards. His 11 targets was seven more than his previous high.
Of course, it’s fair to be skeptical since the Steelers like to spread the ball around. We were just talking about Diontae Johnson’s breakout potential a couple of weeks ago, and we’re still waiting for JuJu Smith-Schuster to heat up. But Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor thinks Claypool’s breakout is sustainable because of the trust he has earned from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“It depends on whom you listen to,” Pryor said. “To hear Mike Tomlin tell it, the strength of the Steelers is in their wide receiver depth, and Claypool was just the better matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. With that explanation, it seems the Steelers will continue to spread the ball around, and Claypool might not be the guy next week. But to Roethlisberger, Claypool exploded for four touchdowns because of his own talent and smarts.
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