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Kansas City Chiefs fantasy football team preview

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

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-Kansas City Chiefs Champions Parade Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Even if future Hall of Famer Patrick Mahomes wasn’t the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, this offense would be one of the best in the league. Andy Reid’s play calling is ingenious. As noted in Sharp Football’s 2020 Football Preview, the Chiefs led the league in first down passing percentage through the first three quarters of games. Equally brilliant, they flip the script and pound the rock the moment they get into the redzone. Both tactics turn defenses on their heads as to what they would, or should, be expecting from other teams.

Play with the free Play Frequency interface offered here by Sharp Football Stats to better understand how uniqure this team is.

Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule:

  • 10th softest overall schedule
  • 14th softest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
  • Mid-tier blend of pass defenses
  • 13th softest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
  • 5th toughest blend of run defenses
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s run defense efficiency
  • 11th softest in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
  • Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s offensive passing efficiency
  • 4th softest in terms of the opponent’s offensive rushing efficiency

Quarterback

Despite missing two games and playing many more severely injured with a sprained ankle and recovering from a dislocated kneecap, Patrick Mahomes still finished top 10 in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. Through his two seasons as a full-time starter, he’s added roughly 1.6 points per game on the ground as a scrambler, giving him an entirely unnecessary, minor rushing floor.

Now at full health and a schedule that appears completely unimposing, Mahomes should challenge Lamar Jackson, and perhaps Dak Prescott, for rights to fantasy’s overall QB1 finish. That said, his .5PPR 2.06, QB1 ADP is outrageously high for a quarterback. Should he slip closer to the 3rd/4th Round turn, a selection would be safely warranted.

Running Back

When Damien Williams opted out, Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy stock rightfully skyrocketed. Rumors abound that Darrel Williams is the team’s preferred pass-blocking running back, but it’s worth noting that Andy Reid mostly asks his backs to leak out as an outlet pass catcher rather than block. Still, Williams can be expected to be involved to the tune of 10-15 touches in Week 1. CEH’s ceiling is probably somewhere in the 15-20 range — more than enough for both backs to seriously produce against the hapless Texans defense in what could be one of the highest scoring games of the year. As the season progresses, we should expect CEH to pull away from Williams and assert himself as one of the best running backs in fantasy. His pass catching ability is top notch, which will pay heavy dividends throughout his time in Kansas City. CEH is worthy of going higher than his 2.03, RB10 .5PPR ADP. Darrel Williams is going far too late — it would not be unreasonable to take him in the 10th Round.

Due to the high-scoring nature of the Chiefs offense, Darwin Thompson is worth an end-of-bench stash with the final pick of your fantasy draft.

Wide Receiver

Tyreek Hill missed time with a chest injury last year so his raw fantasy production was lacking. On a per game basis though, Hill was 10th in .5PPR scoring. Being one of the fastest players in the NFL, operating as Patrick Mahomes’ number one WR, it’s easy to see why he’s coming off the board at the back end of the first round in .5PPR drafts. Hill’s route running has continued to improve every year and his speed is perhaps tops in the league. Although he’s been nursing a hamstring injury through camp, he is reportedly ready to go for Week 1. Draft Hill at his appropriate first/second round turn ADP but beware; the receiver does come with some off-field concerns.

Sammy Watkins is almost impossibly unproductive — something that seems counterintuitive for the X-receiver in the Chiefs offense. It’s fair to wonder if his mental state has contributed to his on-field decline. With such a low ceiling, we can do better than drafting Watkins at his .5PPR 11.09, WR50 ADP.

Demarcus Robinson appears to be the direct backup to Watkins. Robinson has flashed at times and would be worthy of a waiver wire add should Watkins miss time. Were a firestorm of hamstring injuries to occur and both Watkins and Robinson were Out, Byron Pringle would then be worth an add. His 2019 Week 5 performance was one to remember.

Perhaps the most tantalizing of the backup receivers, Mecole Hardman retains rights to Tyreek Hill’s direct backup spot. Hardman had a few stellar performances last year and although it’s clear he’s still developing, his open-field speed is a sight to behold. Were Hill to miss time, Hardman would immediately assume Z-receiver duties and would likely take the spot of that week’s top waiver wire add. His punt/kick returning brings added value.

Tight End

Travis Kelce’s worst season-long fantasy performance from 2015-2019 was finishing as the TE7 in 2015. Since then he’s been either the TE1 and TE2. With the COVID-stunted offseason, drafters need to prioritize established QB-pass catcher connections. Mahomes-to-Kelce is as good as it gets. His .5PPR mid-2nd Round ADP is an appropriate price to pay for the difference-maker.

Were Kelce to miss time, backup Ricky Seals-Jones would immediately become a top 12 fantasy option. RSJ is an above-average pass catcher at tight end and the KC system would utilize him to his fullest.

Kicker

A great kicker on a phenomenal offense is a fantasy dream. Draft Harrison Butker, put him in your lineup, and forget about him until his Week 10 bye.

Defense/Special Teams

The KC defense is modest on paper but the way in which Mahomes routinely runs up the score early on opponents forces opposing offenses out of their preferred game plan and into a high-volume of pass attempts. The result is increased opportunity for the Chiefs defense to generate sacks and turnovers. The Chiefs D/ST are an excellent fantasy defense.