Kansas City Chiefs 2021 Fantasy Preview

Chiefs Fantasy

The Kansas City Chiefs have the most explosive offense in the NFL, lead by Patrick Mahomes. While Mahomes deserves lots of credit and is the face of the league, his supporting cast of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill is the best receiving duo in the NFL. Over the past three seasons, Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill have been three of the best fantasy players. The Chiefs had issues along the offensive line to close out last season. To fix the issues, the Chiefs revamped their offensive line in the offseason. The headline addition was trading for former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. After the changes in the offseason, let’s look at what fantasy players can expect from the Chiefs this season.

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Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 Fantasy Football Previews.

Quarterbacks – Patrick Mahomes

Currently, Peyton Manning holds the record for most passing yards in a season with 5,477. However, that record is at risk this season with the extra game, and the most likely candidate to break the record is Mahomes. In his three years as the starter, Mahomes has averaged 308.2 passing yards per game in 45 contests. Over a 17 game slate, 308.2 passing yards per game comes out to 5,239 yards for the season. Furthermore, Mahomes has averaged 2.5 passing touchdowns per game in his career, throwing 38 or more in his two healthy seasons as the starter. There is no reason not to take Mahomes as the first quarterback off the board, as early as the late second round, as long as Kelce and Hill stay healthy.

Running Backs – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrell Williams, Jerick McKinnon

Edwards-Helaire finished his rookie season as the RB22, averaging 13.5 fantasy points per game. While Edwards-Helaire scored under 12.5 fantasy points in four of his final six games last season, he scored 13 or more in five of his first seven games. In the six games before the Chiefs added Le’Veon Bell, Edwards-Helaire averaged 21.3 touches and 15.9 fantasy points per game. Edwards-Helaire’s 15.9 fantasy points would have finished as the RB11 last season on a point per game basis among running backs with at least seven games played. Entering his second season in the league and first with a complete offseason, expect Edwards-Helaire to have a bounce-back season and finish as a mid RB2.

Behind Edwards-Helaire is the veteran duo of Williams and McKinnon. Last season, Williams played only 27.7 percent of the snaps and averaged 4.4 touches and 4.2 fantasy points per game. While he played on third down at times, the addition of McKinnon should change that for this season. After deciding against re-signing Bell, the Chiefs added McKinnon. While McKinnon had missed the previous two seasons in San Francisco because of knee injuries, he rebounded in 2020. Last season, McKinnon played in all 16 games, averaging 7.1 touches and 7.9 fantasy points per game. While Edwards-Helaire should receive most of the work on early downs, expect McKinnon to earn a role on third downs and become a flex option in deeper PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers – Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle

Other than Davante Adams, Hill is the most valuable wide receiver in fantasy football. Hill has finished as a top-three wide receiver in two of the past three seasons. In the other year, Hill finished as a top-12 wide receiver on a point per game basis despite missing four games. Furthermore, Hill had 105 or more targets in three of his past four seasons, averaging eight per game over that span. Moreover, Hill had a career-high 15 receiving touchdowns and 17 total touchdowns last season. He also scored 15.5 or more fantasy points in 80 percent of his games. Furthermore, Hill averaged 15 or more yards per catch in over half of his games last season. Between his big-play ability and quarterback, Hill is a lock for another top-five finish this season.

While Hill has been a fantasy superstar in Kansas City, the receiver spot opposite him has been a revolving door. Last season, Hardman finished as the Chiefs’ WR2, averaging 7.6 fantasy points per game. While in 2019, Sammy Watkins averaged 9.9 fantasy points per game and 11.5 in 2018. Over those three years, the Chiefs’ WR2 had an average finish of WR59. However, Hardman has stood out in training camp and has a firm grasp on the No. 2 role. Over the first two years of his career, Hardman has averaged 7.4 fantasy points per game and a 13.3 percent touchdown rate despite playing only 43.8 percent of the snaps. Hardman is a prime third-year breakout candidate. He is someone fantasy players should draft as a WR4 with upside.

After Hill and Hardman, the depth at wide receiver is an open competition. Last season, the duo of Robinson and Pringle combined for 58 catches on 79 targets for 626 receiving yards, four touchdowns, and 9.4 fantasy points per game. Behind him includes former Cleveland Browns castoff Antonio Callaway and rookie fifth-round pick Cornell Powell. While Callaway has an uphill fight to make the final roster, Powell is a sleeper fantasy players need to keep an eye on. The former Clemson star had an impressive offseason leading up to the draft and was considered by many a draft sleeper. If Hardman or Hill misses games with an injury, don’t be surprised to see Powell step up and fill their starting role over Robinson or Pringle.

Tight Ends – Travis Kelce

There isn’t a tight end in football more dominant than Kelce. He has finished as the overall TE1 each of the last five seasons in PPR scoring, averaging 263.6 fantasy points per season. During that span, Kelce averaged 16.5 fantasy points per game. Last season, Kelce finished tied for first among tight ends with 11 touchdowns. Furthermore, he finished tied for fifth overall in the league. It marked the second time in the past three seasons that Kelce scored double-digit touchdowns.

Not only has Kelce turned into a touchdown machine over the past few seasons, but he has also averaged 94.6 catches per season over the past five years. Unless Kelce misses time with an injury, he is a lock to finish as the TE1 again this season and should be a first-round pick in all PPR drafts. However, if Kelce misses time, rookie Noah Gray is a must-add off the waiver wire.

Defense/Special Teams

Last year the Chiefs finished as the D/ST10, averaging 6.9 fantasy points per game. While they finished middle of the pack with 32 sacks, the Chiefs finished tied for fifth with 18 interceptions. Moreover, they had at least one turnover in all but two games last season. Furthermore, the Chiefs D/ST scored seven or more fantasy points in about half of their games. In the offseason, the team made some additions to the defense. They signed former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed and traded for former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes. More importantly, the Chiefs used their first draft selection on former Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton. While the Chiefs have a tough schedule to start the season, their D/ST is an option for fantasy players who stream the position.

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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