Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Before we look at where we're going, let's take a look at where we've been (that's a shoutout to Mader from Cars for all you fellow Moms and Dads).
2022 will be the 5th season under the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes regime. As you know, it's been mostly fireworks to this point, finishing no worse than 6th in the NFL in scoring or offensive yards in any of the past 4 years. Not surprisingly, they've been especially dominant in the passing game, finishing:
2nd (2021), 3rd (2020), 15th (2019) and 9th (2018) in passing attempts
4th, 1st, 5th and 3rd in passing yards
6th, 3rd, 5th and 1st in passing TDs
They've been considerably less dominant on the ground, of course, finishing:
20th, 23rd, 27th and 23rd in rushing attempts
16th, 16th, 23rd and 16th in rushing yards
14th, 22nd, 13th and 7th in rushing TDs
Fantasy football doesn't have to be hard; any time you have Patrick Mahomes under center, you can expect a pass-heavy approach and a lot of points. Period.
That said, there are still some considerable roster changes—and corresponding question marks—for us to dive into when forecasting 2022.
There will be some unfamiliar faces underneath the arrowhead helmets in 2022. The Chiefs let WRs 2 and 3 Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle walk out the door while trading away Mahomes' career-long WR1 and electric game changer Tyreek Hill. There's no way to sugarcoat it; that hurts.
Still, they made several moves at the WR position to give Mahomes a stable supporting cast, bringing in free agents JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and using their 2nd round pick on one of my favorite WRs in the entire draft; Western Michigan's Skyy Moore. As a bonus to watch, they also signed Clemson's Justyn Ross who outplayed Tee Higgins and Hunter Renfrow as a freshman and was on the radar as a first round NFL draft pick before a spinal injury put his career in jeopardy.
And, oh yeah, Travis Kelce is still around to dominate defenses, even in his age 32 season.
And, for what it's worth—which isn't much—Mecole Hardman is still there and playing for a contract renewal which is never a bad thing.
Patrick Mahomes will be just fine, if not better, with plenty of serviceable options.
On the ground, the Chiefs let Darrel Williams leave for Arizona but added former 38th overall pick Ronald Jones from Tampa Bay (while also bringing back Jerick McKinnon on a one-year deal) . RoJo underwhelmed in Tampa, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn't exactly been nails in Kansas City. CEH certainly has the most upside of the batch, but this is likely to be a committee when the season begins in September.
Patrick Mahomes 📉
2018 fantasy points per game: 26.1 (QB 1)
2019 fantasy points per game: 20.5 (QB 6)
2020 fantasy points per game: 25 (QB 3)
2021 fantasy points per game: 21 (QB 6)
In 4 full seasons as the Chiefs' starting QB, Mahomes has finished:
2nd (2021), 5th (2020), 18th (2019) and 7th (2018) in passing attempts
6th, 2nd, 10th and 2nd in passing yards
3rd, 4th, 8th and 1st in passing TDs
7th, 10th, 13th and 11th in QB rushing yards
He's also added exactly 2 rushing TDs in every season
Across 4 seasons, he's averaging 4,609.3 yards, 37.3 TDs, 279.8 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs, AKA 373.58 fantasy points AKA 22 fantasy points per game.
He's a remarkably safe QB option, getting you 20 or more fantasy points in 65.6% of his games in the last 4 years, not to mention an exciting ceiling, scoring 30 or more fantasy points in 19.7% of his games.
For comparison, none of Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers have been able to hit 20 fantasy points more frequently, and only Lamar hits 30+ significantly more frequently (26.2%) than Mahomes (Allen also hits 30 at 20%).
I understand Tyreek his gone but good QBs stay good. There's no need to overthink this one; Mahomes is a perennial top 5 QB with weekly and yearly QB 1 upside.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: Mahomes is currently being drafted as the QB 2 around pick 33 (late 3rd round). Players drafted within 6 picks of Mahomes in either direction include AJ Brown, Cam Akers, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Kyle Pitts, Ezekiel Elliott, Tee Higgins, David Montgomery, James Conner, Antonio Gibson, Justin Herbert, Josh Jacobs, and Diontae Johnson. Of those, I'd rather have Brown, Akers, Evans, Allen, Higgins, Pitts and Johnson.
Draft Kits: I have Mahomes in Tier 1A of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Josh Allen and Justin Herbert.
Dynasty Leagues: Nothing to see here. He's a top 5 option for the next decade.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 📉
2020 PPR points per game: 13.5 (RB 22)
2021 PPR points per game: 11.8 (RB 28)
It's been two underwhelming seasons for the 2020 1st round pick that many dynasty leaguers spent their 1.01 rookie pick on. Over 2 seasons, CEH has finished:
41st (2021) and 16th (2020) in RB touches (catches + rushing attempts)
42nd and 14th in RB scrimmage yards (rushing + receiving)
29th and 36th in RB TDs (rushing + receiving)
Across those 2 seasons, CEH is averaging 177.5 touches (27.5 catches) for 873 scrimmage yards and 5.5 TDs.
He's had an unfortunately underwhelming floor-ceiling combo as well, hitting 15 or more PPR points in just 34.8% of his games and never hitting 25. He's gotten you single digit PPR points in 26.1% of his games, including 30% of them last season.
This year, the Chiefs added another underwhelming high draft pick, Ronald Jones, to their roster to challenge CEH for early down duties. They also brought back Jerick McKinnon on a one year deal after he flashed in the playoffs last season with 16 or more touches in each playoff game.
With this looking more and more like an RB-by committee, there's no reason to think CEH will suddenly get the type of volume it seems he'll need to be the type of fantasy RB you want to spend a draft pick on.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: CEH is currently the RB 27 in fantasy drafts, selected around pick 70 (6th round). Drafted within 6 spots of CEH in either direction are Courtland Sutton, Dalton Schultz, Brandin Cooks, Darnell Mooney, Dak Prescott, Damien Harris, Allen Robinson, Jalen Hurts, Michael Thomas, Jerry Jeudy, Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen and Russell Wilson. He's a rare RB mixed into a treasure trove of WRs and QBs I'd much rather have on my roster.
To be clear, the price for CEH is completely fine. I just would rather have those WRs and QBs on my team instead.
Draft Kits: I have CEH in Tier 2C of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Kareem Hunt, Elijah Mitchell, AJ Dillon, Damien Harris and Tony Pollard.
Dynasty Leagues: CEH is going to need to show something significant if the Chiefs are going to pick up his 5th year option after the season which, right now, seems highly unlikely. Perhaps a change of scenery will serve him well but, if he couldn't get it done in KC, I'm skeptical he'll ever be that guy.
That said, if you sell him now, you'll be doing so at an all time low. Might as well hang on (and if you don't currently have CEH on your roster, he might be worth a buy low attempt).
Ronald Jones 📈
The Chiefs love themselves some underwhelming high-draft capital running backs, signing RoJo after he lost his opportunity in Tampa to Lenny Fournette. There's suddenly some real question and a lack of clarity as to how this backfield will shake out in fantasy football.
The likeliest scenario is that Jones handles clear rushing downs while CEH serves as the receiving threat; honestly they're the perfect compliment to one another in that way.
But that makes things tricky from a fantasy football standpoint, as both guys remain likely to cannibalize one another's value.
Still, being drafted in the double digit rounds of fantasy drafts with only the underwhelming CEH in front of him on the depth chart, RoJo is very much on the fantasy football radar and worthy of late round consideration.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: Jones is currently the RB 43 off the board around pick 121 (11th round). Drafted within 6 picks of RoJo in either direction are: James Cook, Kadarius Toney, Russell Gage, Pat Freiermuth, Michael Gallup, Alexander Mattison, Allen Lazard, Cole Kmet, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, Tyler Boyd and Irv Smith.
Jones is one of my favorite selections in that range of players.
Draft Kits: I have RoJo in Tier 3A of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Rhamondre Stevenson, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, Mark Ingram, James Robinson, Dameon Pierce and Marlon Mack.
Dynasty Leagues: RoJo's dynasty value is at an all time low and there's at least a chance he can seize the lead back role on one of the best offenses in football. Can't hurt to float a late rookie pick out there to try and buy him cheap.
Jerick McKinnon 📈
We won't spend too much time here as the most likely outcome for McKinnon is that he's irrelevant in fantasy football this year.
But...if CEH and RoJo continue to underperform, be aware that Jet absolutely balled out in the NFL playoffs last year:
Week 19 vs the Steelers: 18 touches (6 catches) for 142 yards and 1 TD (26.2 PPR points—something CEH has never done)
Week 20 vs the Bills: 15 touches (5 catches) for 78 yards (12.8 PPR points)
Week 21 vs the Bengals: 15 touches (3 catches) for 95 yards (12.5 PPR points)
He's not on the fantasy football radar to start with, but that could change in a hurry. Keep him on your watch list and throw a few darts at him in the last rounds of best ball leagues.
Best Ball Drafts 👍: McKinnon is currently free and entirely worthy of a 20th round dart. What if he ends up the guy?
Draft Kits: I have McKinnon Tier 4A of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Pierre Strong, James White, Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams, Chris Carson and others.
The departures of Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle freed up a whopping 243 targets that theoretically need to find new homes in 2022.
Two things we can bet on in 2022 is that A) there will not be a "new Tyreek Hill" in this offense. Those days are over (for now). And B) this is Travis Kelce's ball club in 2022.
Other than that, how this extreme WR room makeover is going to shake out in fantasy football is anybody's guess.
So let's make some guesses...
JuJu Smith-Schuster 📈
JuJu is easily the most proven of the bunch with a WR 8 season on his resume after turning 166 targets (4th most) into 111 catches (5th most), 1426 yards (5th most) and 7 TDs (13th most) back in 2018 (18.6 PPR points per game).
He also put together a WR 16 campaign (14.6 PPR points per game) back in 2020 with 128 targets (15th most), 97 catches (7th most), 831 yards (36th most) and 9 TDs (9th most).
He's been a relatively "safe" option in his career, hitting 15 or more PPR points in 44.9% of his career games (I say "relatively" because he's also landed under 10 in 36.7% if his games).
His ceiling is questionable at best after hitting 30 PPR points 3 times back in 2018 but failing to hit even 25 since then. That said, he is just 2 seasons removed from hitting 20 PPR points in 25% of his games in 2020 which is plenty acceptable.
He's far from a "sure thing" but he's my bet to pace Chiefs WRs in fantasy football this year—and the public agrees judging by ADP. There's plenty of reason to be excited about what JuJu can do in this offense.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: JuJu is currently the WR 33, drafted around pick 81 (7th). That's a mighty fine price to pay for the upside he carries into the offense. Drafted within 6 picks of JuJu in either direction are: Adam Thielen, Russell Wilson, Devin Singletary, Elijah Moore, Gabriel Davis, Kareem Hunt, Dallas Goedert, Tony Pollard, Hunter Renfrow, Matthew Stafford, DeVonta Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Lockett, Tom Brady and Rashaad Penny.
Of that batch, JuJu is easily one of my favorites to target in 2022 fantasy football, right up there with Thielen, Russ and, depending on if I need RBs, Kareem Hunt and Tony Pollard.
Draft Kits: I have JuJu in Tier 2C of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Adam Thielen, Brandin Cooks, Rashod Bateman and Gabriel Davis.
Dynasty Leagues: In the league for half a decade now, it's easy to forget that JuJu is still just 25 years old. On just a one-year deal with the Chiefs and free to play anywhere next week, JuJu is an intriguing dynasty asset. Personally, I'd consider him a hold, possible a sell candidate if you think Skyy Moore or MVS are the guy.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 📈
Shockingly signed to a three-year, $30 million contract mere hours after Tyreek Hill was traded to the Dolphins, MVS is squarely in the mix to be Mahomes new WR1 in 2022.
Skeptics might point out that MVS really didn't do much with similar opportunity and a similar caliber QB in Green Bay, and they'd be right. MVS has landed under 10 PPR points in 72.4% of his 58 career games.
Debaters might point out that the Chiefs intend to use MVS as more than just a deep threat like Green Bay after signing him to such a hefty contract. And they'd be right too.
For what it's worth, early reports from Chiefs camp indicate "MVS has a strong rapport with Mahomes" and "MVS has been the best receiver in camp." It's wise to take training camp praise with a grain of salt, but it's at least noteworthy in an unsettled WR room like this one.
For my money, I'm betting on MVS having some big days in 2022 (he's already been able to hit 20+ PPR points in 10.3% of his career games), but being maddeningly unpredictable as to when they'll happen. Frankly, that can be said about any of the Chiefs receivers this season.
He's a great best ball pick for the price, and you could certainly do worse as a late round flier in redraft leagues (even if he is maddeningly inconsistent).
Fantasy Drafts 👍: MVS is currently the WR 54, being drafted around pick 137 (12th round). Drafted within 6 picks of MVS in either direction are Darrell Henderson, Kenny Golladay, Nyheim Hines, Kenneth Gainwell, Rachaad White, Jarvis Landry, Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Trevor Lawrence, Christian Watson, Jameson Williams, JD McKissic and Dameon Pierce.
In best ball drafts, MVS is one of my favorite picks in that batch. Otherwise I'm often looking at Golladay, Gainwell, Jarvis, Rondale and Pierce.
Draft Kits: I have MVS in Tier 4B of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and more.
Dynasty Leagues: MVS will already be 28 this season, but it's notable that he'll be tied to Patrick Mahomes for at least 2 seasons—while JuJu was only signed to a one year deal. He's someone to hang onto in dynasty leagues assuming you won't get much in a trade anyways.
Skyy Moore 📈
I was banging the table for my Packers to go get Skyy Moore in April's NFL Draft. He's easily one of my favorite rookies in the entire class.
That said, the fantasy analyst in me was equally elated to see him land in Kansas City. The Chiefs used their 2nd round pick—well, their first 2nd round pick—on Moore and in a wide open receiver room,
You know what they say about when immense talent meets immense opportunity...Skyy's the limit!....Get it?...cuz Skyy?...no?
Yes, it's me; Dad.
But seriously. The excitement is beyond palpable. Take it from the king of statistical modeling himself, my friend and mentor, JJ Zachariason. Look who Moore aligns with statistically, straight out of JJ'z rookie prospect guide (with his permission, of course):
All in on Skyy in 2022 and beyond!
Fantasy Drafts 👍: Skyy Moore is currently drafted as the WR 60 around pick 147 (13th round), ten(ish) picks after MVS. Personally, I'm picking Skyy over MVS, idc idc idc.
Drafted within 6 picks of Moore on either side include: Jameson Williams, Christian Watson, JD McKissic, Dameon Pierce, DJ Chark, Albert Okwuegbunam 👆, Raheem Mostert, Noah Fant, Ryan Tannehill and Jahan Dotson.
Of that group, I'm most frequently targeting Moore and, depending on how my RB or TE room is looking, Pierce and Albert O.
Draft Kits: I have Skyy Moore in Tier 4A of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with a bunch of other exciting rookie WRs (Drake London, Treylon Burks, Christian Watson) and Jamison Crowder.
Dynasty Leagues: I have Moore at 1.06 or 1.07 overall (flip-flop between him and Jameson Williams by the hour) as WR 5/6 in rookie drafts.
Mecole Hardman️ 📉
2019 PPR points per game: 7.7 (WR 74)
2020 PPR points per game: 8.1 (WR 81)
2021 PPR points per game: 7.6 (WR 76)
On the one hand, you could say the former 2nd round pick has never had more opportunity than he does this season with Tyreek Hill out the door. It's a wide open WR room filled with new faces, and Hardman is entering a contract year.
On the other hand, he had three years to carve out a prime role opposite Tyreek and instead lost playing time down the stretch to Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. He's done very little with the opportunity he had, scoring less than 10 PPR points in 62.5% of his 48 career games (each of the last 2 years have landed below 10 PPR points 68.8% of the time).
It also doesn't seem likely the Chiefs have a renewed faith in their 24 year old receiver after spending money on JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and using their 2nd round pick on Skyy Moore.
Sure, the opportunity is there.
But has that mattered in the past?
I think it's time to move on from Mecole, and I suspect the Chiefs might think that too.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: Mecole Hardman is currently the WR 64 drafted around pick 164 (14th round). Drafted within 6 spots of Hardman in either direction are Gus Edwards, Justin Tucker (lol), Jamaal Williams, Robert Tonyan, Jameis Winston, Darrel Williams, Tyler Allgeier, Mac Jones, Evan Engram, Jalen Tolbert and Daniel Carlson (lol).
Hardman is fine for the price—what if I'm wrong about his 2022 outlook? That's a lot of upside there—but my attention is usually turned more towards all of those guys except the kickers (lol).
Draft Kits: I have Mecole in Tier 4C of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, Jameson Williams, Jahan Dotson, Joshua Palmer, Van Jefferson and more.
Dynasty Leagues: Mecole Hardman is still just 24 and in the final year of his contract. His dynasty value has never been lower than it is right now. I'm personally not a fan, but you have to wonder if he could be had for a 3rd round pick or so?
Travis Kelce 📈
2018 (first season with Mahomes) PPR points per game: 18.4 (TE 1)
2019 PPR points per game: 15.9 (TE 1)
2020 PPR points per game: 20.9 (TE 1)
2021 PPR points per game: 16.6 (TE 2)
Read those 4 lines again. Do I really need to write more?
I've heard the narrative that we need to worry about defenses keying on Kelce this year so...yeah I'll write a little bit more.
Remember, there's 243 new targets up for grabs and most of the target competition for Kelce is unfamiliar faces for Mahomes. Who do you think Mahomes will be looking for the most? Remember when Darren Waller had 146 targets in 2020 because the Raiders didn't really have a WR1?
And this is Travis Kelce we're talking about. This guy has finished 1st or 2nd in TE targets, catches, yards and fantasy points in each of the last four years.
He's hit at least 10 PPR points in 87.1% of his games in the last four years, including hitting 20 or more PPR points in 38.7% of his games in the last four years. Just one other TE (Zach Ertz, 2018) has even been able to hit 38.7% in a single season let alone over the last 4 years.
Let's not overthink this one, you guys.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: Travis Kelce is the TE 1, drafted around pick 14 (top of the 2nd round). I'm completely fine with him there but also have balanced my portfolio with D'Andre Swift and Stefon Diggs who are drafted around there as well.
Draft Kits: I have Kelce in Tier 1A of my fantasy football Draft Kits (just $10 until 8/1) with Mark Andrews. These guys are the elite of the elite and give you a weekly advantage at fantasy's weakest position.
Dynasty Leagues: Sadly for us dynasty leaguers who watched him grow up, Kelce will be 33 in October. If you're not competing near the trade deadline, it's time to think about selling.
That's a wrap on the Kansas City Chiefs (for now)! If you prefer your content via YouTube, be sure to subscribe to the BBFF channel so you don't miss anything! Likewise, if Podcast is more your jam, don't forget to subscribe to the BBFF podcast!
Next up: the Denver Broncos!