The Chiefs are the defending AFC West champs. Coming off a 12-4 season, they busted out in large part because of league MVP Patrick Mahomes. In his first full season as the starting QB, Kansas City was one of the best offenses in the history of the league. The Chiefs finished as the top offense by DVOA by a wide margin over the second ranked Rams.

Nothing about last season appeared flukey, but it’s hard to look past the controversy surrounding KC. Tyreek Hill figures to be one of the, if not the, biggest story of the preseason. Involved in a serious personal matter, a potential distraction is looming. The Chiefs (-155) are still favored to win the division, although their odds have dropped and their win total has dipped from 10.5 to 10. Whatever controversy swirls around Hill, it could have an impact on the team.

Team Preview

Key Departures:

Eric Berry, S; Chris Conley, WR; Demetrius Harris, TE; Justin Houston, DE; Mitch Morse, C; Eric Murray, S; Steven Nelson, CB

Key Acquisitions:

Bashaud Breeland, CB; Frank Clark, DE; Mecole Hardman, WR; Carlos Hyde, RB; Tyrann Mathieu, S; Emmanuel Ogbah, DE; Alex Okafor, DE; Juan Thornhill, S

2019 Fantasy MVP

Travis Kelce, TE

It seems a bit weird to not have Mahomes, who won the actually MVP, as the fantasy MVP for the Chiefs. Not only did he win MVP last year, but he’s listed as the favorite to win the award against at +500 odds. Kansas City has two players as the clear-cut top options at their respective positions and Mahomes gets an honorable mention in this category. He should be the first QB taken off the board, but Kelce should be the first tight end drafted. With the tight end position annually being the most difficult position to get production from and the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the scarcity of the position makes Kelce a valuable fantasy asset and worth considering at the start of the second round.

Any potential absence of Hill looms large here. If he is out then Mahomes efficiency could drop. At his best, Mahomes was out of the pocket, innovating and making plays we have never seen before. Hill was one of the main reasons the improvisation in the Chiefs offense was so successful. He’s one of the fastest players in the NFL and it’s nearly impossible for defensive backs to stay on him during the extra time created with Mahomes scrambling.

Editor’s Note: The NFL says it does not plan at the moment to suspend Hill.

2019 Fantasy LVP

Carlos Hyde, RB

With Hunt gone, the Chiefs signed Hyde for extra depth. There is a threat he could take touches away from Damien Williams, but I don’t think this will be the case. Twenty-nine is an old age for a running back and Hyde showed signs of slipping last season. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry, by far the lowest total of his career. Hyde will be running behind a much better offensive line in Kansas City, although the trend of his yards per carry is a red flag. In the last three seasons, he averaged 4.6, 3.9 and then the aforementioned 3.3 yards per carry. In the passing game, he averaged 3.3 yards per route, down from his career average of 5.6. I don’t think coach Andy Reid plans to give Hyde a significant role, but even if he does, Williams should outperform Hyde to the point that he gets phased out of the offense.

2019 Breakout Player

Damien Williams, RB

After Hunt was cut, Williams took over as the lead back. It was his first time ever getting a significant role and results were massive. Including the playoffs, he was the guy for KC in six games. What stood out most was the amount of usage he got in the red zone. Williams scored 10 touchdowns in those six games and averaged 25.3 DKFP. In addition, he played an active role in the passing game. Williams drew a total of 38 targets last season and reeled in 33 of them for catches. This is great efficiency and I doubt the declining Carlos Hyde will take away playing time.

Final Thoughts:

If Hill has to miss a chunk of the season, then the Chiefs offense and Mahomes are in a rough spot. This would still be a good team although it would be tough for them to replicate last year’s run, especially since the already poor defense doesn’t look like it will be any better. Sammy Watkins would become a receiver to target in drafts without Hill, while second-round pick Hardman would be worth taking as a flier late in drafts. He can’t replicate what Hill does, but he’s a burner. I think Kansas City likely took him in the draft because he fits into the same archetype as Hill. He ran a 4.33 40-yard-dash at the combine and I am guessing he wouldn’t have been drafted by the Chiefs if there weren’t questions surrounding their Pro Bowl receiver.

Editor’s Note: The NFL says it does not plan at the moment to suspend Hill.

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