NFL Splits Tool: Can Patrick Mahomes elevate the Chiefs’ offense without Tyreek Hill

 

With not much left in the way of big offseason events that will change teams' futures, our eyes can truly turn toward the season to come, preparing for fantasy football drafts and looking forward to what we need to know for success in 2022. With that in mind, all summer long, I'll be using our FTN Fantasy Splits Tool to look at some of the key situations to know for the season.

 

The Splits Tool allows you to experiment with situations with active/inactive players, spreads, locations, and more to help you get a picture of everything you need for your fantasy football season. Sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription now to experiment with the tool as you prepare for your season.

Tyreek Hill Trade

The Kansas City Chiefs sent shockwaves through the NFL when they traded All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for five draft picks back in March. Hill has been a focal point of the Chiefs' offense since he was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. Over the last half-decade, Hill has accounted for 479 receptions, 6,630 receiving yards, 67 total touchdowns and six consecutive Pro Bowls. Last season he led all Chiefs' receivers in targets (159) and receptions (111), both career highs. There is no way to replicate Hill's production. However, the Chiefs have added new weapons this offseason in an attempt to fill the void. Today, I’m looking at how the Chiefs' offense has produced without Hill and what we can expect moving forward.

For a look at how Hill might be used with the Dolphins, check out Jeff Ratcliffe's "Why You're Wrong About Tyreek Hill's Usage in Miami."

Patrick Mahomes, QB

Patrick Mahomes Fantasy Football Splits

Patrick Mahomes was drafted one year after Tyreek Hill, the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs traded two firsts and a third-round pick to move up 17 spots and take Mahomes but chose to redshirt him in his first season, with his only action coming in a meaningless Week 17 game. Mahomes spent most of his rookie season developing under veteran quarterback Alex Smith before making his first start in that final game of the regular season. After a third consecutive first-round exit in the postseason, the Chiefs traded Smith and moved forward with Mahomes as the new face of the franchise. Since taking over the starting role in 2018, Mahomes has won Offensive Player of the Year, MVP and Super Bowl MVP. He has played all but five games in his career with Hill, but his numbers have remained steady either way. He averages 48.39 more passing yards per game without Hill, but his touchdowns decrease by 0.88. This offseason, the Chiefs added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling through free agency and drafted rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Although Hill's departure hurts Mahomes, he has shown the ability to elevate the talent around him. Our consensus FTN rankings still have Mahomes as a top-three quarterback heading into 2022.

Travis Kelce, TE

Travis Kelce Fantasy Football Splits

Travis Kelce has been dominating the tight-end landscape since before Patrick Mahomes came to Kansas City. Prior to last season, Kelce had five consecutive finishes as the PPR TE1. In 2021, Kelce caught 92 passes for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns but finished as the TE2 behind Mark Andrews. Kelce logged his sixth straight thousand-yard season, a streak that began in Tyreek Hill's rookie season. Since Mahomes took over as the starter, Kelce and Hill have combined for 44.1% of the Chiefs' receptions and 48.8% of the receiving yards. They are also responsible for over half (52.3%) of the receiving touchdowns. Kelce has only played four games without Hill, with Mahomes under center, and his production was slightly worse. He saw fewer targets, receptions and touchdowns per game but averaged 5.45 more receiving yards. With or without Hill, Kelce is in line for another monster season, looking to reclaim the throne of TE1. He is the only pass catcher who has been on the Chiefs since Mahomes’ arrival and should be force-fed targets.

 

Mecole Hardman, WR

Mecole Hardman Fantasy Football Splits

Mecole Hardman was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft as a potential Tyreek Hill replacement. At the time, Hill was dealing with off-field issues and was at risk of suspension, which never came to pass. Hardman hasn't lived up to expectations, failing to eclipse 700 receiving yards in each of the past three seasons. He did, however, take a step forward in 2021, posting career highs in targets (83), receptions (59) and receiving yards (693). Hardman closed the season strong with a career-best 103 receiving yards in the final game of the regular season (Hill was active in that game, he was severely limited due to a pre-game foot injury). Hardman's production has increased without Hill, but it hasn't been anything significant, averaging 4.8 targets, 2.8 receptions and 54.2 receiving yards in five games without Hill. He enters a pivotal year in 2022, playing in the final year of his rookie contract. As the longest-tenured Chiefs' wide receiver, Hardman has the opportunity to break out in his fourth season. He is currently being drafted as the fourth Chiefs wide receiver on Underdog Fantasy Best Ball drafts and is worth a dart throw in the later rounds. You can stay up to date with Underdog ADP by using the tools at FTN Fantasy.