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Kansas City Chiefs fantasy preview

Who to target and avoid in fantasy football from the Kansas City Chiefs.   

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Warren Sharp’s Strength of Schedule: Warren Sharp projects the Kansas City Chiefs to face the most difficult overall offensive schedule of 2019, specifically, the 9th-hardest slate of pass-defenses and the No. 1 hardest slate of pass-defenses.

Must Draft

Patrick Mahomes must be drafted if he falls. There have only been 11 occurrences of quarterbacks throwing over 40 touchdowns in a season -- Mahomes threw 50 last year. He’s likely to still be the QB1 or QB2, however, that does not warrant buying the opportunity cost to draft him in the 2nd Round. Their difficult strength of schedule will somewhat impact his statistical output.

In Sharps’ 2019 Football Preview he points out just how efficient passes to running back on 1st-and-10 are. While 1st-and-10 passes to running backs and receivers result in 57% and 56% Success Rates, respectively, passes to receivers yield a solid 65% completion rate and passes to running backs yield a remarkable 76% completion rate. To drive the point home further, “[o]ver the last three years, the Chiefs’ first-down passes to backs have produced a league-leading 9.3 [yards per attempt] and a fourth-ranked 64% success rate”. Draft Damien Williams in the 2nd Round—stop overthinking this. Sure, he lacks experience—but he’s the locked-in starter to begin the year. Another way of looking at this: he has significantly less tread on his tires than other bell cow running backs.

Update 9/1/19: With the news that Andy Reid added domestic-violence-associated running back Lesean McCoy to his backfield, Williams’ value is now suddenly up in the air. The money paid to McCoy, one of Reid’s former stars in Philadelphia, is substantially higher than what Kansas City paid Williams. Given the likelihood of a potential 3-way committee (Darwin Thompson as the 3rd), Williams is suddenly a player to avoid as he is no longer the safely-presumed starter.

If you’re unconcerned with who you’re rooting for, draft Tyreek Hill with confidence. He’s one of the best receivers in the NFL and is on the league’s highest-scoring offense.

Travis Kelce is truly worth 1st Round consideration.

Sammy Watkins is being draft in the WR33-35 range, excellent value for a starting receiver in the Chiefs offense.

Given his potential upside in the slot, as a 4.33-second 40-yard burner, Mecole Hardman is a smart late-round pick.

Good Values

Darwin Thompson is a prudent add in all formats, reasonable coming off the board around the 9th Round/10th Round turn.

Monitor

Keep an eye on backup RB Darrel Williams and WR Demarcus Robinson.

Avoid

N/A