Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Tyreek Hill's breakout potential gives Chiefs new life

Alex Smith is an easy target. He's a "game manager", he gets praised for "wins" as a statistic, his arm strength is, well, not a strength and he rarely takes shots downfield. That's all true, but that doesn't mean the Kansas City Chiefs passing game isn't Fantasy relevant. 

Travis Kelce was the No. 1 tight end in 2016. Tyreek Hill was a top 20 wide receiver. This group had real intrigue even before they released Jeremy Maclin and his 76 targets from 2016.

Of course, the passing game won't be the story in Kansas City as we head to training camp. The story will be the battle between Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt for the No. 1 running back job. The most likely outcome is we get a committee that hurts the value of both backs, but if either becomes a workhorse they'll be a steal on draft day. Let's get into the expectations for the Kansas City Chiefs:

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

Kansas City Chiefs
Player Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
125.5 2 203.5 2
141 19 221 21
117.5 31 141.5 32
95 39 120 42
93 60 153 56
265 25 265 25

Breaking down the touches

One benefit of Smith and Reid having a history is that there's more reliability in projecting the offense. The Chiefs are likely to throw the ball about 55 percent of the time, with slightly more than a quarter of those targets going to tight ends and less than 60 percent going to receivers.

The interesting part of this offense is in the running projections. Last year Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill combined for 72 carries. That's a chunk of the team's projected 420 carries that Ware and Hunt won't even get a shot at. Here's a more detailed look at my expectations:

Chiefs Touches
Spencer Ware 37% 154 6% 32 24 6
Kareem Hunt 32% 134 6% 32 25 4
Tyreek Hill 8% 32 26% 128 80 6
Chris Conley 0% 0 20% 100 60 4
Travis Kelce 0% 0 26% 128 85 5

Of note:

  • I'm trying to be conservative with Kelce's touchdown expectation. To be clear, a season with seven or eight scores would be less surprising than if he continues to disappoint in that category with another 1,000 yard season.
  • Ware vs. Hunt will be one of the most watched camp battles in the league. We've already seen reports in favor of both backs. 
  • Hill becomes a No. 1 wide receiver in leagues that count return yardage. 

The Leftovers

There's still an outside shot the Charcandrick West factors into the rotation at running back as well. I'm expecting somewhere around 50 touches and 250 yards from him but if either Ware or Hunt falter in camp, he could be the third-down back, or more.

Conley will have competition for targets from both Demarcus Robinson and Albert Wilson. I don't think either is very likely to be Fantasy relevant, but they could muddy up the water enough to where Conley isn't either. 

Finally, yes Patrick Mahomes is the quarterback of the future in Kansas City. But don't expect a controversy this season. I would expect Mahomes to start the season third on the depth chart and I wouldn't expect him to take a meaningful snap in 2017 without Smith getting hurt. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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