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Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Football Preview

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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