I for one am sick and tired of hearing about Patrick Mahomes and his upcoming “regression”. Sure, throwing back-to-back 50 TD/5K yard seasons is absurdly difficult. However, if you were actually watching him play quarterback last year, I don’t know how anyone can argue he still isn’t the #1 asset at the position. I’m old, so I don’t like this phrase, but basically, it’s stupid how easy the game is to him. A poor defense kept Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs offense pretty active, but some serious questions remain. The biggest of them all is the running game. So far, training camp has only seemed to layer more doubt into an already curious situation.
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2019 Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Preview
KEY LOSSES: Mitch Morse C, Dee Ford DE, Steve Nelson CB, Justin Houston DE, Allen Bailey DT, Damien Wilson, OLD, Chris Conley WR
Impact: Morse dealt with concussion issues last year and had core muscle surgery in the off-season. Although you never like to lose a starting center, it seems health was a legitimate concern. Houston went to the AFC rival Colts and some serious defensive leadership was lost with him. Dee Ford is also gone and now there’s real worry about how the Chiefs will get to the quarterback because Chris Jones will assuredly see plenty of double teaming.
KEY ADDITIONS: Tyrann Mathieu FS, Alex Okafor DE, Carlos Hyde RB,
Impact: Tyrann Mathieu was a nice addition, but not enough to cure the multiple woes of the Chiefs defense. Hyde was a fascinating addition. Despite struggling to stay on the field most of his career, he’s the most proven running back on the roster, even if he lacks a high ceiling.
DRAFTED PLAYERS OF FANTASY NOTE: Mecole Hardman WR, Juan Thornhill S, Darwin Thompson RB
Impact: With Tyreek Hill avoiding suspension, Mecole Hardman now has room to develop at his own pace, rather than out of necessity. That’s a good thing. He’s stylistically similar to Hill, but still has plenty of refinements to make before taking over that role in the offense. Thornhill is a versatile player, but I’m not sold he’s a difference-maker. Thompson is undersized, so he’ll be tagged with the “change of pace” moniker. However, the league is changing and speed is what it’s all about. We’ll see how he fares in camp, but for now, he’s more of a long term asset than a redraft one.
Part of the reason I think Mahomes will throw for 40+ TD’s in 2019 is the lack of clarity in the Chiefs running game. Damien Williams took over last year and was solid, but early buzz out of camp has not been great and Andy Reid was basically questioning his injury status. Carlos Hyde is just a guy, but a guy that could see goal-line work, and that will frustrate Williams owners. Travis Kelce is the clear #1 TE in fantasy, and he’s more valuable than Rob Gronkowski was in his heyday simply based on the fact the position is so much thinner this year. Tyreek Hill is a game-breaking fantasy player and both he and Kelce should approach 100 catches yet again this season. There’s still an outside chance the Chiefs search for another running back, so invest in Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce. Fade the rest. That includes Sammy Watkins, who’s forever hurt.
The Chiefs were the 31st ranked defense in the league averaging 400+ YPG. OOF! Dee Ford and his 13 sacks are gone to San Francisco. Justin Houston and Eric Berry too are off the roster. Sure, those last two missed time and lost a step, but their presence in the locker room and on the field will be missed. Anthony Hitchens will be a tackle machine in IDP, but the Chiefs D may have actually gotten worse year over year. In fact, they’re a defense you want to target against in matchups whenever you can.
CHIEFS 2019 OUTLOOK
If Mahomes throws for 4.8K yards and 40 TD this season, I’ll take that “regression” all day long. In single QB leagues, he’s a 4th round pick. In superflex, he’s a mid first-rounder. The Chiefs will once again be an offensive juggernaut and the defense will continue to be an embarrassment. For fantasy purposes, what more can you ask for really? They’ll make the playoffs again, but the defense could hold them back from the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year. Then again, transcendent QBs tend to transcend the odds.
Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best-selling Fantasy Black Book Series and creator of the revolutionary player evaluation tool Relative Position Value (RPV). He’s the host of The Fantasy Black Book Podcast and the LineStar DFS Podcasts. Joe was previously host of the FSTA award-winning On Target Fantasy (2016 Radio Show of the Year), The Fantasy Black Book Show, RotoExperts in the Morning and NFL Game Day for the FNTSY Fantasy Sports Radio Network, as well as RotoWire MLB/NFL DFS Podcasts, and numerous shows for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. You can also see him frequently on CBS TV in New York on The Sports Desk. He’s written for The Sporting News, FanDuel Insider and FantasyAlarm.
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