QB Patrick Mahomes – After playing in seven games (1,547 passing yard and 16 TDs) in his freshman year at Texas Tech, Mahomes passed for 9,705 yards with 77 passing TDs and 25 Ints over the last two seasons. He attempted 131 rushes per year in his sophomore and junior seasons with high value in rushing TDs (22), but Patrick had less room to run in 2016 (285 yards) compared to his success in 2015 (456). He has a good feel for the pocket while offering upside moving forward to break free from pressure where his legs will give him a second opportunity to make a play. Mahones made plenty of deep throws with success in college, but he had a bigger passing window. He needs to improve his pre-snap reads while firing quickly when reaching his last step in his backpedal. His all-around game looks exciting, and his style will bring the deep passing game back into fashion in Kansas City. The Chiefs have a stud TE, a speedy WR1, and a young playmaking WR2 plus pass-catching talent at RB. In his rookie season, Mahomes projected to be a top 12 QB with a chance at 4,000+ yards with close to 30 combined TDs. His big area of concern is interceptions. I expect a better season than the success of Alex Smith in 201 (4,397 combined yards with 27 TDs).
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RB Kareem Hunt – The Chiefs will be making a change at QB in 2018. Patrick Mahones comes with high pedigree, and he’s expected to add more value to the deep passing game. His ability to challenge defenses over all parts of the field can only help Hunt find freedom at the second level of the defense. In his rookie season, Kareem gained 1,882 combined yards with 11 TDs and 53 catches. He averaged 20.3 touches per game with 12 rushes over 20 yards and three runs over 40 yards. Kansas City has a stud TE plus an extremely quick and talented Tyreek Hill. The addition of Sammy Watkins will force the defense to pay attention to the deep passing game. This whole equation points to a much better situation than Ezekiel Elliott, but Hunt may lose the touch battle to Elliott by 20 percent or more. Kareem has pass-catching ability, and his overall opportunity should rise in 2018. The key is the success and the development of Mahomes. I expect him to score more than 350 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. As much as I like the long resume Antonio Brown, and the opportunity of DeAndre Hopkins, I can’t pass on Hunt in this area of the draft unless I’m able to identify a breakout type RB in the second round. Possible 2,000+ combined yards with 60+ catches and more than a dozen TDs, but Spencer Ware will get in the way. In 2017, Kansas City’s RB rushed for 1,538 yards and 11 TDs on 337 carries plus 90 catches for 683 yards and five TDs on 113 targets.
RB Spencer Ware – Ware ended up being a nice value pick in 2016 for Fantasy owners thanks to a better than expected opportunity with the injury to Jamaal Charles. He finished with 1,368 combined yards with five TDs and 33 catches. After an explosive game in Week 1 (199 combined yards with a TD and seven catches), Spencer only shined in two other games (Week 5 – 163 combined yards with a TD and two catches and Week 6 – 131 combined yards and two catches). Over his last seven games of the season, Ware never rushed for more 70 yards in any game. He scored only two TDs in his eight contests in the regular season. The Chiefs gave him 15 touches or more in 11 of his 14 games played. His year ended after Week 15 with a rib injury leading to minimal value in his only playoff game (36 combined yards on ten touches with a TD and two catches). After missing all of 2017 with a torn PCL and LCL, Spencer will battle to regain playing time this year. Ware should receive about 100 touches for 600 yards and minimal value in TDs.
WR Tyreek Hill– In first two seasons in the NFL, Hill has filled two different roles in the Chiefs’ offense. In 2016, he worked the short areas of the field in the passing game while offering change of pace value as a runner. Last year Kansas City worked him more into the deep passing game leading to nine catches of 40 yards or more plus a jump from 9.7 yards per catch to 15.8. His ability to test a defense deep helped create more open field at the second level of the defense for Kareem Hunt. In the end, Tyrek only had 122 touches in 2017 while ranking 23rd in WR targets (105). Despite his shorter than expected opportunity, Hill was the fifth highest scoring WR in PPR leagues. The presence of Travis Kelce does hurt his chances plus the Chiefs have a dynamic RB. Tyreek is the right kind of gamble in 2018, and I’d love to see him regain a few more rushing targets to help his floor and ceiling. If he puts both parts of his early resume in 2018, a Fantasy owner will have a first-round value. Last year the Chiefs’ WR caught only 165 passes for 2,285 yards and 12 TDs on 240 targets.
WR Sammy Watkins – After two good seasons (65/982/6 ad 60/10479) to start his NFL career, Watkins failed to live up to expectation in 2016 and 20. The trade to the Rams was expected to offer a huge improvement in opportunity, but Robert Woods outplayed Sammy. LA did improve offensive with Watkins adding value in TDs (8). After a great game in Week 3 (6/106/2), he had four catches or fewer over his last 12 games while failing to gain over 45 yards in ten contests. In the end, Sammy caught 39 of his 70 targets for 593 yards. His skill set and pedigree point to much high upside, but Watkins will rank behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for targets. Tempting name for sure, but he may need an injury to gain starting Fantasy value in PPR leagues. I’ll set the bar at 60 catches for 900 yards with five to seven TDs.
WR Chris Conley – In his four years at Georgia, Conley caught 117 catches for 1938 yards with 20 TDs. His best year was his senior season when he caught 36 passes for 657 yards with eight TDs. Chris has excellent size (6’2” and 213 lbs.) with plus speed (4.35 in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL combine), but his release and hands have some risk at the next level. After catching 17 passes for 199 yards and a TD on 31 targets in his rookie season, Chris pushed those total to 44/530 on 69 targets in 2016. Showing growth, but he’s yet to produce big play ability (12.0 yards per catch). His season was cut short in 2017 (11/175) after five games with an Achilles injury. Minimal value with Sammy Watkins added to the roster.
TE Travis Kelce – In each season in the NFL, Kelce has seen his target rise (87, 103, 117, and 122). His game reached elite status in 2016 (85/1125/4) and 2017 (83/1038/8) with more upside expected with the young gun-slinging Patrick Mahomes taking over at QB. Travis finished with five impact games (8/103/1, 7/111/1, 7/133/1, 8/109, and 4/94/2) while catching seven targets or more in seven starts. His role in Kansas City’s offense is closer to a WR1 while providing an edge at TE. The top end of the TE pool can be tricky, and draft flow will determine where the value lies at TE. For now, the top scoring receiving option in the rising Chiefs’ offense while placing a bet on a young QB. Possible 90+ catches for 1,200+ yards and double TDs, which will be a clear edge over most teams at TE.
2018 Fantasy Football: Positional Team OutlooksFantasy Football Rainman Shawn Childs, a six-figure high-stakes career earner and one of the most accurate rankers in the industry, previews the most relevant players at each skill position on all 32 NFL teams! Use these team previews to DOMINATE your competition as we approach the 2018 Fantasy Football season!