If you would’ve told me a month ago that Tyreek Hill was going to get traded to the Miami Dolphins, I would’ve called you crazy and told you to go kick rocks. This NFL offseason has done nothing but give me whiplash from all the blockbuster trades and the Kansas City Chiefs trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins just seems fitting at this point. Now that we’ve all had a few days to decompress and pick our jaws up off the floor, it’s time to evaluate how this trade greatly impacts things for the Chiefs and Dolphins and fantasy football managers. Below, is a brief overview on the key fantasy players from these teams, and how this trade impacts the 2022 fantasy football season.
5 Players Impacted by the Tyreek Hill Trade
1. Tyreek Hill
Going into the 2022 fantasy football season, Tyreek Hill was projected as a top 5 wide receiver. However, after being traded to the Miami Dolphins, I don’t think that’ll be the case anymore. Tyreek Hill is now going to have a bit more competition for receptions than he had on the Chiefs, where their passing attack was pretty much just a 1-2 punch between himself and Travis Kelce. With this trade to the Dolphins, he will be joining a receiving core that consists of Jaylen Waddle, Cedric Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and DeVante Parker (let’s be honest we all know he’s getting traded).
That said, Tyreek Hill should still be a decent fantasy wide receiver, as he is a speedster that is prone to break loose downfield at any given time. The best part about this trade is that there is a fine chance that you won’t have to pay a premium to get Tyreek Hill on your fantasy team. I’m sure new head coach, Mike McDaniel, can get some schemes put together that will give Tyreek plenty of opportunities to torch defenders down the field. While going from Patrick Mahomes throwing you the ball to now Tua Tagovailoa is a downgrade that you should be concerned about, Tyreek Hill was still able to put up a 1,000-yard season with Alex Smith throwing him the ball in 2017. Brace yourself for a slight decrease in fantasy production than you’re used to from Tyreek Hill, but don’t be surprised if he finishes the 2022 fantasy season as a top-15 wide receiver.
2. Patrick Mahomes
Let me just come right out and say it, this Tyreek Hill trade was horrible for Patrick Mahomes’s 2022 fantasy production. The Chiefs just recently signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to try and replace Tyreek Hill as their deep threat, but there’s just no comparing the two when it comes to their quality of play. Tyreek Hill was just such a great complement to the way that Patrick Mahomes plays the game, and he fit in perfectly with the Chiefs offense.
During the 2021 NFL season, The Chiefs ranked 4th in plays per game with an average of 67 plays. They also ranked 2nd in pass attempts per game with an average of 39.9 attempts. A big part of why these numbers were so high, was the result of how quickly Mahomes was able to get the ball downfield to Tyreek Hill. With Tyreek Hill and his speed gone, expect those averages to go down and as a result, Patrick Mahomes’s fantasy points should also go down. With Patrick Mahomes’s other favorite target, Travis Kelce turning 33 this season, and Mecole Hardman being the only starting wide receiver not to leave this offseason, this seems like the deck is stacked against Mahomes going into the 2022 fantasy football season. Then again, this is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about here. While it’s hard to see him finishing the 2022 fantasy football season as the quarterback 1, it is well within the realm of possibility for him to still finish as a top 5 quarterback.
3. Tua Tagovailoa
Before the Tyreek Hill trade, no one seemed to be considering picking up Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback for their fantasy football team. However, with Tyreek Hill joining the Dolphins, it’s hard to now not consider Tua Tagovailoa as a potential low-end starting fantasy quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa now has two stud receivers to throw the ball to in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The numbers those two players can put up is enough to elevate any quarterback’s fantasy value. Keep in mind that Tua Tagovailoa also has some pretty solid options aside from those two with the recent signings of Cedrick Wilson and Chase Edmonds, and Mike Gesicki staying with the team via the franchise tag. The Dolphins have given Tua Tagovailoa all the tools he needs to succeed and look for his 2022 fantasy production to reflect that.
4. Jaylen Waddle
I initially thought that the Tyreek Hill trade was not a good thing for Jaylen Waddle, as most of his fantasy production last season was mainly due to the number of targets that came his way. Jaylen Waddle ended the 2021 season with 142 targets and 104 receptions. Mike Gesicki is the closest player on his team to those numbers with 112 targets and 73 receptions. A full 30 targets less than Jaylen Waddle, which means Jaylen Waddle had pretty much no competition on the Dolphins in the passing game.
Naturally, you would think that bringing in another alpha receiver like Tyreek Hill would eat into Jaylen Waddle’s fantasy production, right? Well, it’s not as simple as that. Both Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill are alpha receivers that defenses are going to want to focus on and make sure they do as little damage as possible. The problem is that you can’t keep both guys in check for the entire game. Defenses are going to have to pick their poison. It’s easy to see multiple games where Tyreek Hill will draw the attention of the opposing team’s best defenders or gets double-teamed, leaving plenty of opportunities for Jaylen Waddle to do some serious damage. So, while Jaylen Waddle’s reception quantity will surely go down with the arrival of Tyreek Hill, he should be able to more than make up for that with some quality opportunities that he would not have gotten otherwise as now most defenses are going to be focused on slowing Tyreek Hill down.
5. JuJu Smith Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster is joining a Chiefs receiving core, where the only returning starters are an aging Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman who has been a bust. Somehow, JuJu Smith-Schuster has now found his way onto a team now in need of a new stud receiver. Filling the void left by Tyreek Hill will be no small feat, but the opportunity is there.
Last season, Patrick Mahomes had 658 pass attempts, and of those, 159 were thrown Tyreek Hill’s way. These passes must go somewhere, and with JuJu Smith-Schuster being on a one-year prove-it deal, he should be incentivized to capitalize on this opportunity. Of course, there is a bit of concern when it comes to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He is coming off a shoulder injury and was unable to become that true top wide receiver for the Steelers after Antonio Brown left. Fortunately for JuJu Smith-Schuster, he now has Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball, and if any quarterback can propel a solid wide receiver into weekly an elite fantasy prospect, it is him.