Fantasy managers searching for depth at wide receiver before the Nov. 30 trade deadline would do well to look at what's happening with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite some questions coming into the year about what the offense would look like without Tyreek Hill, things have more or less been the same as they ever were.
Patrick Mahomes leads the league in passing yards (2,605) and passing touchdowns (21) through eight games. The bulk of his targets are going to Travis Kelce, but the receiving options on the outside have been better than expected.
Week 3 was a sloppy performance for the Chiefs in a 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but it wasn't a major cause for concern going forward.
Kelce is leading the team with 77 targets, 57 receptions, 659 yards and seven touchdowns. Given how dire things have been at tight end around the NFL, no one with him on their roster should think about dealing him unless it's a ridiculous overpay.
JuJu Smith-Schuster was a great buy-low option coming into 2022 after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers and whatever Ben Roethlisberger was trying to do last year. The 25-year-old has 582 yards on 44 receptions through eight games.
Smith-Schuster has been a WR2 in fantasy this season. He ranks 20th in total PPR scoring (112.2) and 25th in average PPR scoring per game (14.0), per FantasyPros.com.
Adding to Smith-Schuster's value is how well he's played lately. The USC alum has 325 total yards in his past three games and is averaging 7.3 receptions on 8.3 targets during that span.
If you are trying to acquire Smith-Schuster for the second half, it's going to cost you a lot.
Mecole Hardman will certainly be easier to get in a trade, but he's not been nearly as impactful as Kelce, Smith-Schuster or even Marques Valdes-Scantling. The 24-year-old has scored five touchdowns in his past three games, but he would need to keep up that pace to have significant value going forward.
Hardman's most productive game as a wide receiver came last week against the Tennessee Titans. He turned nine targets into six receptions and 79 yards with a touchdown.
The lack of week-to-week consistency from Hardman over the course of the entire season makes him too volatile for me to bet on him as a regular starter. If you want to acquire him as a flex option down the stretch, you might be able to get him for a fairly low price.
Valdes-Scantling was a boom-or-bust player in four seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He has the speed to take the top off defenses (career average of 17.5 yards per reception).
Much like Hardman, Valdes-Scantling continues to be hit-and-miss from week to week. He had a season-high 111 yards in Week 8 against the San Francisco 49ers, but he followed it up with one catch for 12 yards against the Titans.
Valdes-Scantling also is yet to find the end zone this season, despite averaging 16.6 yards per reception.
If you have decided you need to add one Chiefs receiver before the trade deadline, Smith-Schuster is the best player to target. Hardman is worth adding if you need depth, but he's a player who you should only be starting if there is a favorable matchup.