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2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland) -- March Madness Tourney

April 1, 2022 7:51 AM
April 1, 2022 10:13 AM

2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland) -- March Madness Tourney


Same Intro each day: We all know what the phrase ‘next Deebo’ means – a player who works at one position primarily but takes on a second position (in-game) beyond just a random 1-2-3 carries or targets…that they become a real dual-threat option for their team, and thus a great producer for Fantasy Football.

Before there was ‘Deebo’ (midway through the 2021 season), there was ‘Cordarrelle’ as the breakout WR who started also taking a good workload at RB…so much so he became the team’s lead RB, but then got all but dropped on his WR aspect.

Before ‘Cordarrelle’ there was Curtis Samuel trying to breakthrough as a ‘nails’ WR in 2020, but also a guy taking 3-5 carries a game in CMC’s absence and looking like he might make the turn – but then he went to Washington in free agency, got hurt, and barely played/impacted in 2021.  

Before Samuel there was everyone looking for the ‘next Tyreek’. We might forget that Tyreek started out as a low target WR taking 1-2 carries a game, and then taking every carry for a 50+ yard TD…then he was converted over from random WR/RB to main WR, and they stopped pushing him in the running game the past two years (definitely don’t get that guy the ball more, whatever you do).

We’ve had some promising guys try to breakdown this ‘Deebo’ wall, but Cordarrelle really was the one who kicked in that door to start 2021 season (then ATL went away from it)…after the door was kicked in, then Deebo ran right through it 2nd-half of 2021 and became the ultimate/best dual threat of our lifetimes – so much so every analyst is running around saying certain players ‘can be their Deebo’, and you’re going to get sick of hearing about it they say it so much now. But credit to Deebo (really, credit to Kyle Shanahan) the ‘Deebo’ role is a thing now…I think some teams are going to copy because of its success, as they should…as they should’ve created it years ago. It’s the evolution of the game – players/weapons who you don’t know where they’re gonna lineup or what they’re going to do, and they’ll draw plenty of mismatches to expose.

With that in mind, we’re going to have a ‘next Deebo’ tournament/FFM daily series for the next few weeks during March Madness time.

I am going to nominate one player from each NFL team to be the possible ‘next Deebo’…the ‘their Deebo’ hopeful. I’ll explain why I choose that player, and why not others if there was a close option – and then like March Madness, we’ll pit two of them against each other/state the case and I’ll choose a winner…the one most likely to be used as ‘the next Deebo’ for the 2022 season.

We’ll go by division, matchups by 2021 record (so #1 v. #4, #2 v. #3 in the division), one matchup/winner declared each day into April until we have one AFC rep and one NFC rep and then we’ll declare a final ‘Super Bowl of Deebo’ winner.

Now, San Francisco has their own Deebo already…so he is not in this tournament. For the SF slot, there will be a play-in game between two current draft prospect options. Unsigned free agents will be an option for the team they were last on in 2021, so like a heavy Final Four favorite, but current free agent (as of this writing), Cordarrelle Patterson, will be an option for Atlanta. Got it? Good. Let’s go…


Today’s Matchup = AFC North: PIT vs. CLE


WR Chase Claypool, PIT


RB Demetric Felton, CLE


I had a tussle trying to select the Browns representative, and I ultimately went with Demetric Felton…even though I know he’s got a snowball chance in hell to reach ‘Deebo’ status in 2022, he’s still their best option…among many good options (that they won’t use interestingly).

Let’s quickly review the three candidates I wrestled with picking for the sad Browns…

1) Kareem Hunt…he could be a legit (lesser) spilt with Chubb at tailback and also work as a slot/underneath/unique WR…but they have almost never really pushed this RB/WR capability.

2) Jakeem Grant was just signed to a decent/small deal, and he’s more ‘next Tyreek’ then ‘next Deebo’, but he could be a 1-2 carry a game WR.

3) Demetric Felton was a legit WR slot/underneath, a pretty good WR at UCLA for three seasons and then converted to RB for his senior year and was 3rd in the PAC-12 in rushing. Felton has worked as a straight up tailback and as a legit slot/weapon WR.

I think Kevin Stefanski is about to get exposed as another ‘nothing’ NFL head coach, one who does the typical stuff like most all of them…and he’s trained in old school ways by the uninteresting Mike Zimmer, among others. Stefanski is not an innovator…so, he’ll use Hunt to be a normal RB and have him run routes almost always as an RB. He’ll talk about all the ways to use Jakeem Grant and then use him for one carry every 2-4 games (like happens to him everywhere he goes). And Felton might be buried too, but he also might force his way to the lineup (via injury to others) at either RB or WR, and then once there they might call plays for him in the other role because he works out at both positions.  

Chase Claypool was a ‘next Deebo’ before there was a ‘Deebo’…3 carries in his first true start in the NFL, as a rookie Week 4 of 2020, where he caught 7 passes on 11 targets for 3 TDs…and ran the ball 3 times for 6 yards and a TD. A star was born…so, it only made sense to then stop pushing Claypool by Mike Tomlin soon after.

Claypool went to the bench/worked as a #4 WR soon after that splash and has been a randomly used event ever since…BUT he did carry the ball 14 times last season. He has 24 career carries for 112 yards and 2 TDs. There is some effort to make it work in some way. Why would you not want to get a 6’4”/235+ guy the ball every way possible?

Claypool has more size, more talent, more history of attempts than any of the Browns’ options. I don’t trust Stefanski any more than Tomlin to push this, so if I then default to the best athlete for the job – it’s clearly the hope of Claypool.

WINNER = Chase Claypool, who goes on to face Ja’Marr Chase in the Sweet 16. Tomorrow begins our Sweet 16 matchups across the board.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>