Chiefs' Biggest Sleepers, Busts, Stars to Target in 2022 Fantasy Football Drafts
As long as Patrick Mahomes is at quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to have one of the top offenses in the NFL. During the 2021 season, they ranked third in the league with 396.8 total yards per game.
So, what's in store for Mahomes and the Chiefs for 2022? They should again have a high-powered offense that can lead them to success. However, they'll need to do so without wide receiver Tyreek Hill, one of their top playmakers in recent years who was traded to the Miami Dolphins in March.
Hill may be gone, but others will have opportunities to step up to try to fill that void. Plus, there are still plenty of talented players surrounding Mahomes, many of whom should be potential targets for fantasy football managers during drafts over the next month.
Here's a fantasy outlook for notable players on Kansas City's offense heading into the 2022 season.
Patrick Mahomes, QB
Josh Allen will likely be the first quarterback taken in most fantasy drafts. However, once the Buffalo Bills QB is off the board, Mahomes will be the best available. And there's a good chance the Chiefs quarterback will be taken either late in the second round or in the third.
Over his first four years as Kansas City's starting QB, Mahomes has averaged 5,129 passing yards and 41 passing touchdowns per 17 games played. Even without Hill to throw to, Mahomes should be in store for a big 2022 campaign, as long as he stays healthy.
Travis Kelce, TE
Some may try to argue that the Baltimore Ravens' Mark Andrews is now the top fantasy tight end to target. But it's still likely that Kelce will be the first TE to come off the board, and that's because of how much of a difference-maker he's been in recent years, particularly over the past six seasons.
Kelce has recorded 1,038 yards or more in each of the past six years, and he's scored at least eight touchdowns four times during that stretch. He continued with his consistent production in 2021, when he had 92 catches for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games.
It's worth considering Kelce near the end of the first round because of how much better he's been than nearly all tight ends in recent seasons. If you want him on your fantasy team, you're at least going to have to use your second-round pick on him, if not your first.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
There was a ton of fantasy hype surrounding Edwards-Helaire heading into his rookie season in 2020. But he hasn't yet lived up to his potential over his first two NFL seasons, partially because of injuries.
Last season, Edwards-Helaire was limited to 10 games, over which he ran for 517 yards and four touchdowns. Although the former first-round draft pick is still only 23, the Chiefs could be using more of a committee backfield in 2022, as they signed Ronald Jones II in free agency and brought back Jerick McKinnon.
Because of Edwards-Helaire's skill set and talent, he still may get taken within the first five rounds of fantasy drafts. But he shouldn't be in consideration until the sixth or later, because there's too must bust potential for him again this year.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
It's not yet clear how Kansas City's wide receiver depth chart is going to shake out ahead of the season. Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore will all likely be in the mix for the top spots.
Smith-Schuster has a high ceiling, which he showed during his second NFL season in 2018. That year, he had 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. But he didn't make that type of impact over the past three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And in 2021, he played only five games, recording 15 receptions for 129 yards and one rushing touchdown.
There's a chance Smith-Schuster has a bounce-back year in 2022, especially now that he'll be playing with Mahomes. But there's a high risk associated with Smith-Schuster for fantasy purposes. Considering he'll likely be taken around the sixth or seventh round, he may not be worth that kind of investment with much safer receivers likely on the board around that time.
Skyy Moore, WR
Moore will likely be picked during the second half of most fantasy drafts. But if he plays up to his potential during his rookie season, he could greatly outperform where he gets taken, because he has a lot of talent and the ability to make big plays.
Mahomes has already been impressed with Moore's skills early in training camp, telling reporters that the former Western Michigan playmaker "runs some great routes and has great releases," per Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire. And Moore should only improve as he gets more comfortable in Kansas City's offense.
If any of Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling and/or Hardman underperform, Moore could quickly move up the Chiefs' depth chart. So if you can land him around the 10th round of fantasy drafts or so, you could be getting a steal.
Ronald Jones II, RB
If Edwards-Helaire is a bust in 2022, it could be because Jones takes away more of his carries as the year progresses. Jones, who will be 25 at the start of the season, has already proved how valuable he can be to a running game in the past.
In 2020, Jones ran for 978 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a crowded backfield picture last year, which resulted in Jones rushing for only 428 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games.
With a fresh start in Kansas City, Jones could quickly become an integral part of the team's offense. That makes him a great running back to target around the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds of a draft.