The Desai Guys continue their Fantasy Football deep dive with the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the mainstays when it comes to teams that hold a lot of fantasy football talent. You don’t have to look further than Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, as he’s always targeted as one of the top quarterbacks off the board in fantasy football drafts. The same thing can be said about tight end Travis Kelce and with the trade of Tyreek Hill during the offseason, expect to see more from Kelce in this offense.
Now the interesting thing that folks will want to monitor is just how this receiver room is going to shake out with this trade of Hill. There have been some additions through the free agency like Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and also an addition through the draft in Skyy Moore. Let’s not leave out the running backs as even though they have a more committee approach, the addition of Ronald Jones II could clear up this situation and become a reliable option week-to-week for you.
How should you value players from the Chiefs offense for your 2022 fantasy football team? This article has you covered as we’ll take a look at who can make a big difference for you this upcoming fantasy football season.
Leave Your Fantasy Football Draft With This Player
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR
Smith-Schuster started off his career rather quickly in Pittsburgh. Through his first two seasons with the Steelers, Smith-Schuster racked up 169 receptions, 2,343 receiving yards, and 14 receiving touchdowns. Unfortunately, after those two seasons, he dealt with a combination of injuries and poor play from the quarterback position.
Now he looks to write a new chapter in his NFL career as he joins the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith-Schuster was actually close to signing with the Chiefs in the 2021 offseason but decided ultimately to return to Pittsburgh in hopes a resurgence from Ben Roethlisberger could bring the Steelers offense back to life (well they say hindsight is 20/20).
Coming to Kansas City, Smith-Schuster is tasked with being part of a corps of new receivers to replace the production Tyreek Hill had in this offense previously. Smith-Schuster is joined by other new offseason acquisitions in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and second-round rookie, Skyy Moore. With Hill now a member of the Miami Dolphins, his absence leaves 159 vacated targets in this passing offense. There’s a good shot that Smith-Schuster can claim a good portion of those targets as besides Travis Kelce, he’s the now most established veteran pass-catcher in this Chiefs offense.
Valdes-Scantling is coming from Green Bay where he played well with Aaron Rodgers but his consistency was always a question. Moore is garnering a lot of hype as a rookie, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll live up to the hype once the season begins. Patrick Mahomes is working with new receivers in this passing offense and having a guy that has the ability to get open in multiple ways instead of just the deep route is going to be critical. Look for Smith-Schuster to fill that role. He has the best shot of becoming the second option in this passing offense behind Kelce.
So looking at his fantasy football stock, most fantasy football managers are going to undervalue Smith-Schuster. It’s not surprising seeing how he only played in five games last season and just didn’t look all that great in the games he did play.
Regardless, coming to a new team with a prime Mahomes is going to work wonders for Smith-Schuster to get his career back on track. Keep in mind that Smith-Schuster signed just a one-year deal with the Chiefs in hopes to prove it and possible cash in during the next offseason.
So when you approach Smith-Schuster in your fantasy football draft, it would be advisable to add him to your bench. He should have immediate FLEX appeal as well but you should be able to fill most of your roster and grab Smith-Schuster towards the end of the eighth round or the beginning of the ninth. This is a guy that most managers aren’t thinking about, but let this article give you that edge to grab this potential diamond in the rough.
Rookie Fantasy Football Difference Maker
Skyy Moore, WR
When Moore was drafted in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, everyone was raving about him landing with the perfect team. Moore was a rising star during the draft process and the kid from Western Michigan is looking to prove the hype is real. Landing with the Chiefs, Moore has a chance to get a good amount of targets in his rookie season because of the trade of Hill to the Dolphins during the offseason. Moore brings another speed receiver to this offense and can become the favorite target of Mahomes if he can separate himself from the other receivers in this new look receiving room.
Moore had a great last season in college but before that was not really a huge factor. So there is some concern about whether he can bring that skill set to the next level. He was able to showcase his talent during the draft process but those are things you need to take with a grain of salt.
One thing that sort of works in Moore’s favor is his ability to play out of the slot. He’s got a good set of route-running skills that can be utilized by a slot receiver and this can earn him more field time compared to other receivers he’s fighting with to earn a top spot on the depth chart.
Moore is also a versatile type of player that can run jet sweeps and screen plays that can also earn him more targets and touches in the offense. Training camp and preseason will play a big factor in whether Moore will earn a starting role or whether that’s something that will come over time.
Looking at where Moore is going in fantasy football drafts, it’s very similar to Smith-Schuster. Expect Moore to be going somewhere in the late eighth round or early ninth round because he shares similar traits with Smith-Schuster and both are prime candidates to earn the starting roles in Kansas City.
So grab Moore for your bench because he’s one of those guys you don’t want to let go, but you also need to wait to see how his skills translate once regular season games begin. The potential and opportunity are certainly there, it’s just whether or not Moore can make the most of the opportunity and realize his potential at the professional level.
Old Face, New Place
Ronald Jones II, RB
After playing second fiddle to Peyton Barber early in his career, Jones seemed to finally have the backfield to himself in Tampa Bay and he flourished. In 22 starts between 2019 and 2020, Jones totaled 1,675 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns off of 351 touches. Then the Buccaneers decided to bring in Leonard Fournette and Jones was once again relegated to taking a secondary role in the rushing attack. This led Jones to leave Tampa Bay and move on to the midwest and sign with Kansas City.
Now Kansas City is known to employ multiple running backs in their system but Jones can carve out a good role as a runner compared to the other running backs on the roster.
As mentioned earlier, Jones was able to find success in his career as a running back and actually boasts a 4.5 yards-per-attempt average over the course of his four-year career. Playing with the Chiefs now, he should earn the majority of the rushing attempts. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to be in the mix but Edwards-Helaire will also see some passing targets on offense as well. He’s also not the same type of runner that Jones has been at the NFL level. Jerick McKinnon is not a runner but he’ll see the field as a pass-catcher and won’t threaten Jones for rushing attempts.
The key thing for Jones is that he’s a very volume-based type of runner that gets better with the more carries he gets. As mentioned he has a career average of 4.5 yards per attempt but in career games where he had at least 20 carries, he averaged 5.5 yards per attempt. So he may initially play behind Edwards-Helaire but the Chiefs might quickly realize that Jones is the better runner and could surpass Edwards-Helaire for touches as the season rolls along.
Jones is going to go late in fantasy football drafts because of the committee approach that the Chiefs like to use. While Edwards-Helaire is the current “starter” in the offense, it’s a job that might be usurped by Jones because of his talent in the running game. It won’t happen right away, but it’s something to definitely monitor as the season goes on.
As you approach your fantasy football draft, he’s not a bad option to add to your bench as a future starter for your fantasy football team. If Jones ends up going undrafted in your league, definitely add him to your waiver wire watch list because he can easily become a FLEX option at the least with more opportunities in the Chiefs offense.
Potential Fantasy Football Breakout Player
Mecole Hardman, WR
Hardman is one of the few holdovers from the Chiefs offense in the receiver room. He should get a good crack at becoming a dependable option for Mahomes in the passing offense. While there have been some moves to make this receiving room more competitive, Hardman is familiar with Mahomes and should have a slight edge on the competition at the jump.
Related to that, he’s been in this offense for three seasons now and has seen an increase in receptions and yardage every season. Smith-Shuster is a dependable option in this offense and there’s lots of hype surrounding the rookie Moore. With all that said though, the offseason departures from the receiving room have led to 260 total vacated targets in this offense.
Even if Smith-Schuster rebounds and Moore can live up to the hype in his rookie season, Hardman should be able to get a large enough piece of this target pie to provide a good option for fantasy football managers. Going very late in fantasy football drafts, Hardman is a great low-risk/high-reward option to snag for the bottom of your bench.
Based on the growing comfort in the offense, he should earn more targets this coming season and would be worth stashing on your bench or adding to your waiver wire watch list if he does go undrafted.
Bold Fantasy Football Prediction
Travis Kelce will finish with over 1,500 receiving yards
Most of this article has been spent talking up the receivers in this Chiefs offense. The most reliable pass-catcher in this offense though is going to be Kelce. So while the absence of a primary option at the receiver position will open things up in this offense, Mahomes is going to go to Kelce more often than not when he needs to make a clutch play. He’ll be the go-to guy for third-down conversions, red zone conversions, and any other important plays to get the Chiefs offense into scoring opportunities.
The interesting thing about this prediction is that Kelce would break the single-season receiving mark by a tight end, which is a record he already holds. He set the record in 2020 with 1,416 receiving yards and also in the same offense that Hill had over 1,200 receiving yards. So even if Smith-Schuster, Moore, and Hardman all have good seasons with the Chiefs, Kelce will still get his share of the offensive targets and he’s for sure going to make the most of it.
Breaking his own record would more than qualify him as a first-round fantasy football draft