We’re previewing every NFL team to get you ready for the 2021 season. Our analysts will tackle pressing fantasy questions and team win totals, in order from the squad with the least amount of fantasy relevancy all the way to the most talented team. Finally, the top-ranked Kansas City Chiefs.
1. Patrick Mahomes is going to be the first QB taken in most drafts. How soon would you be willing to draft the star in standard leagues and what kind of numbers does he have to post to justify an early ADP in what is a deep QB group?
Dalton: Mahomes is the best player in football right now, but he doesn’t run a ton (especially during the regular season), so I rank him below Josh Allen and in the same fantasy tier as Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson, both of whom can typically be drafted 2-3 rounds later. That said, there’s a pretty strong argument Mahomes is the safest third-round pick when compared to other positions.
Matt: My answer is as boring and lock-stock as you’ll get from any fantasy football writer. Patrick Mahomes is the best player in football; you can’t really rank him anything lower than QB3 overall but he’s almost never going to go in a range where I'd be itching to take him in a typical roster-management redraft league. Mahomes can put up the type of 50-total touchdown type of season with 400 rushing yards sprinkled on top that he’d need to be the overall QB1 in any season. It’s just a matter of opportunity cost, especially when you consider players that share the same fantasy ceiling like Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson might go a round or two after him.
Scott: Matt's answer stands well for me. I would take Mahomes at even odds over any quarterback, but if you're going to go vanity at QB, you can get better value waiting a round or two. It's not the type of position where you want to be the seal-breaker.
2. Just six players separate Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in our overall rankings. Does it make more sense to draft Hill as the top WR overall in the first round, or would you rather pass on him to get the overwhelming positional advantage Kelce provides in Round 2?
Matt: With so many running back questions littering Round 1, I am starting to warm to Travis Kelce as an ideal pick at the turn. You can argue there is a tier gap between Kelce and the next two star tight ends in Darren Waller and George Kittle. If forced to pick between the two, I’ll go Kelce simply for the positional advantage.
Dalton: Both are fine picks, but I’d lean toward the positional advantage of grabbing a tier-one fantasy tight end. Kelce is only a few months younger than Rob Gronkowski though and has played deep into back-to-back seasons, so he’s not without risk. But wide receiver is deeper than ever, while tight end is extremely top-heavy.
Scott: I certainly have no bone to pick with Kelce, who's toyed with this position since 2016. But tight end is an attrition job, and Kelce is entering his age-32 campaign. A slight lean towards the Cheetah.
3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire flashed moments of sheer greatness in his rookie season, but it was mostly underwhelming for fantasy managers. He’s our consensus 15th-ranked RB for 2021. What needs to happen for CEH to break into the top-10, maybe even the top-five finishers at his position?
Scott: A little experience goes a long way; consider how many first-year backs came on like gangbusters after their respective bye weeks last year. The Chiefs have a thin backfield and all the toys elsewhere on the offense; CEH is still set up to succeed, and perhaps smash.
Dalton: Damien Williams and Le’Veon Bell didn’t return to KC, securing CEH’s role as the team’s clear feature back. Edwards-Helaire had horrible goal-line TD luck during his rookie season and came off the field on passing downs despite a prolific receiving career at LSU (he should be better in pass pro in Year Two). The Chiefs greatly improved their offensive line during the offseason, and Andy Reid used to routinely produce elite fantasy RBs. If CEH stays healthy, it’d be a surprise if he didn’t finish as a top-10 fantasy back.
Matt: He just needs to stay healthy. We’re all turning over every stone trying to decide who will be the No. 3 pass-catcher on a suddenly shallow Chiefs receiving corps between guys like Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman, but what if the answer is “just more passes to Clyde Edwards-Helaire?" He’s still the feature back on a Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid offense. Theoretically, there are not many more valuable positions than that. He’s an easy Round 2 pick who catches too much grief for a middling fantasy season as a rookie.
Kansas City Chiefs projected 2021 fantasy contributors
QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR: Tyreek Hill / Mecole Hardman
TE: Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs O/U on 12.5 team win total from BetMGM
Dalton: OVER. It’s usually best to fade a number this high, and it’s worth noting KC has played into February each of the last two seasons. But the Chiefs have arguably the league’s best quarterback and coach, with a rebuilt offensive line and nine games in Arrowhead this season. While some may anecdotally worry about a “Super Bowl hangover,” I’d argue the ugly loss will result in a motivated Mahomes, who played through a serious foot injury down the stretch. I’ll bet on Kansas City winning at least 13 games.
Follow Scott: @scott_pianowski
Follow Matt: @MattHarmon_BYB
Follow Dalton: @daltondeldon