For years the Kansas City Chiefs have produced dependable and productive fantasy football players whose draft stocks have only gone up since Patrick Mahomes came to town. This year in your fantasy drafts these Chiefs should be on your radar…
The NFL regular season starts in three weeks and for most fantasy leagues that means that the fantasy football draft clock is about to begin ticking down on them and their team.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Kansas City there will likely be at least one Chief on your team this season due to the highlight-reel offense that coach Andy Reid and OC Eric Bieniemy have constructed.
Because of this, you should know which Chiefs deserve to be picked higher than others. Not only that, you should know what the stats say about certain players draft positions and expected season.
Travis Kelce, TE
Kelce has shown he is one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the entire league by only missing two games since 2014 with both week 17 matchups after securing playoff positions.
Thanks to the departure of WR Sammy Watkins in the offseason Kelce is now even more of a threat than he was last year when he broke the all-time record for yards in a season by a tight end (1,416 yds) in only 15 games.
Kelce is projected to have over 110 receptions for over 1,390 receiving yards this season and with his career catch rate of 71.2%, it would seem that those numbers could be easily doable. He’s also projected to catch over 10 touchdowns which would be his third time reaching that mark in the past four seasons.
Currently, Kelce’s average draft position (ADP) is #12, which is 15 spots higher than 49ers TE George Kittle, and if he exceeds his weekly point projections (like he did in ten out of his 15 weeks of play last year) then even the 12th pick might be too low for the 32-year old superstar.
With all of Kelce’s recent success and solid history of availability he’s easily TE1 this year in fantasy and, depending on the size of your league, he could very easily be a first-round pick in your draft…even over some of the biggest wide receivers in the NFL.
Tyreek Hill, WR
Hill’s speed sets him in a league of his own, especially in fantasy football. With the quickness and agility that he brings to the wide receiver position, it’s hard to see him not being one of the first receivers picked in your fantasy draft.
He’s projected to have over 1,436 receiving yards (4th-highest in NFL) this season and, after already achieving that feat back in 2018 during Mahomes’ 50-TD season, to be honest, it could quite possibly be Hill’s best season without Watkins around.
Both Kelce and Hill are set for huge seasons but with Mecole Hardman (4.22 sec 40-yd dash time) and Byron Pringle (4.46 sec) likely being on display more often this season the two Chiefs veterans could both break their own previous records.
The main reason Hill should be one of your earlier picks isn’t just the receiving standards that he’s set for himself but it’s also the trick plays, jet sweeps, and other rushing attempts that has brought Hill success over the years and will most likely end in a TD if Hill has his way.
Currently, Hill is not only projected to have the 4th-most receiving yards out of the league’s wide receivers but he’s also projected to have the 5th-highest rushing yards (82.4) which are not surprising considering he’s had over 120 rushing yards in three of his five seasons.
Those rushing attempts have led to seven total rushing TDs for Hill, and typically in highlight-reel fashion (like the one below), so his draft stock is always on the rise–especially with such a young running back room with an average age of 25 years old.
Patrick Mahomes, QB
Because most fantasy leagues are 12 teams or less Mahomes has been projected to be one of the more common second-round picks (ADP: #13).
Mahomes will likely be one of the first QBs picked due to his three straight stellar seasons that all ended in AFC Championship games and over 25 fantasy points per game in two of his last three seasons (Fact: no other QB has more than one season with 25+ppg in that time).
After being embarrassed, broken, and let down in the Super Bowl it would not be surprising if Mahomes comes out angrier and more determined than ever to have the best season a quarterback has ever had, just one more reason to pick him up sooner rather than later.
And with his consistency at the position, there’s no reason to think that he couldn’t break his own records from 2018. Last year alone he had his highest completion percentage (66.3%) and highest passing yards per game average (316.0 yds) of his career which bodes well for fantasy owners in the upcoming season.
While there is some concern over his foot surgery this offseason he has said that he’s “full go” for the season which is the best news that his fantasy football owners could hear heading into a revenge season.
Thanks to the fact that Mahomes has one of the easier schedules for fantasy QBs, and the fact that he threw for over 31 fantasy points in six of his 15 games last season, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to draft him with an early-to-mid second-round pick before your buddy does.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
Because Edwards-Helaire didn’t score many touchdowns last season (six total) the Chiefs’ 2020 first-round pick doesn’t seem to be getting much respect considering he’s projected to be the 14th picked running back in this year’s fantasy drafts.
But let’s not forget that Kansas City has a much better offensive line to run behind this year and that Edwards-Helaire did have 1,100 yards from scrimmage in just 13 games without such a healthy, talented line.
Also, Edwards-Helaire having Mahomes throw to him is always going to be a huge booster to his ADP (#23) which is only going to go up without the likes of Le’Veon Bell and Damien Wilson on the roster, both of whom were used to more touches than the depth chart currently behind the Chiefs’ RB1.
With just two weeks before the final drafting day, Edwards-Helaire is not only projected to have almost 1,000 rushing yards–998.8 yards to be exact–but he’s also expected to have 389.5 receiving yards (13th best) and over two receiving TDs.
I think at the end of the season those projections will look ridiculous thanks to the way Mahomes loves to spread the wealth and the massive upgrade to the offensive line.
3rd – 4th round
The Chiefs Defense
No matter who starts at linebacker (Nick Bolton or Ben Niemann) and who starts at defensive end (is Frank Clark going to be available?) the Chiefs defense has gotten exponentially better and looks to be more healthy and youthful than it has in years.
Chris Jones moving to DE alongside Taco Charlton–who was doing well before getting injured midway through the 2020 season–and one of the best UDFA in GM Brett Veach’s career in Tershawn Wharton this could be the best pass rush that Kansas City has boasted in a decade.
Also, with the secondary being led by Tyrann Mathieu (for possibly the last season?) and the rising stars around him like second-year CB L’Jarius Sneed–who had two INTs in his first three games before injuring his collarbone–it’s hard to think many QBs are going to find ways to torch Kansas City over the top.
Look for Kansas City’s defense to make a bigger jump than they did when Bob Sutton left as Defensive Coordinator before 2018.
5th – 6th round
Mecole Hardman, WR/KR
The second-fastest player on the offense has reason to shine this year with the new opportunities that he’ll be given without Watkins around and with a better knowledge of the playbook in his third season.
With 18 receivers projected to be drafted before Hardman, he will almost definitely be a solid late-round pick up for anyone who is looking for depth at WR or looking for a Chiefs player who will not only get catches (projected: 52.4) but return yards (career total: 1,231) and touchdowns (career total: two) like he has for his short time in the league.
As your WR3 or your FLEX player, Hardman offers real potential. He’s projected to rack up over 730 receiving yards and 5.5 TDs and if those don’t entice a fantasy owner then his possible return yards should–even with his fumbling problem.
Don’t be afraid to draft Hardman midway through the draft depending on the talent at WR left on the board. Whether or not he finally breaks through and establishes himself as WR2 on the Chiefs it won’t matter to fantasy owners who are happy to see him getting more targets.