NFL Splits Tool, Week 15: No Tyreek Hill, No Problem in Kansas City
FTN's Sam Choudhury looks at how the departure of Tyreek Hill in Kansas City has (or hasn't) impacted the Chiefs' fantasy production.
Dec 15, 2022, 3:52 PM EST
We're heading into Week 15 of the fantasy football regular season. Over the offseason, I did an "NFL Splits" series, looking at historical trends to help predict the outlook of the 2022 season. I will be continuing the series during the season by using the FTN Splits Tool and looking at actionable takeaways from the previous weeks.
The Splits Tool allows me to experiment with different situations, such as active/inactive players, spreads, locations, and more, to get a better understanding of the rest of the season. Users can sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription and gain access to all the tools needed to dominate their fantasy leagues.
Adapt or Die
Since drafting Tyreek Hill in 2016, the Chiefs have won the AFC South in six consecutive seasons and won 10-plus games every year. Last season, they came one game short of a third straight Super Bowl appearance, getting eliminated by the Bengals in the Conference Championship. Rather than trying to preserve their championship-caliber roster, the Chiefs made a blockbuster move, sending shockwaves across the league in the offseason. They traded Hill to the Dolphins in exchange for four 2022 draft picks and two in 2023. Fast forward 15 weeks into the 2022 season, and the Chiefs have not lost a beat. They've already won double-digit games for the eighth year in a row and have a commanding three-game lead in the AFC West. Today, I'm going to look at how Hill's departure has impacted the Kansas City passing offense over the past two seasons.
Patrick Mahomes, QB
Patrick Mahomes was drafted one year after Tyreek Hill and had never played a season without his All-Pro wide receiver. There were concerns about Mahomes ceilings without Hill, who had led the Chiefs in targets (159), receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,239) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (9). Through 13 games, Mahomes has put all the worry to rest, leading the league in passing yards (4,160) and passing touchdowns (33). Despite losing arguably the league's best deep threat, Mahomes has thrown for a league-high 60 passes 20-plus yards downfield, with no other player completing more than 46 such passes. Although Mahomes has a slight dropoff in completion percentage without Hill, his counting numbers as a passer have improved across the board this season. He's averaging a touch over half a fantasy point per game more (+0.51) and is currently the QB2 just behind Jalen Hurts.
Travis Kelce, TE
Entering the 2022 season, Travis Kelce had six straight thousand-yard seasons, a streak that began when Tyreek Hill was drafted in 2016. However, without Hill this season, Kelce has already eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards (1,039) and become the fifth tight end ever to surpass 10,000 career receiving yards (10,045). Despite being one of the few separators at the tight end position with Hill last season, Kelce's value has increased even more without him. He's currently on pace to have the highest-scoring season fantasy season by a tight end in NFL history, likely finishing as the overall TE1 for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Mecole Hardman, WR
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 has yet to live 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). Without Hill, Hardman's overall receiving numbers have decreased this season. Still, his fantasy production has received a boost due to his ability to find the end zone and his usage as a rusher. He scored 16-plus PPR points in his two most recent games before being placed on IR in Week 10. Hardman has missed the last four games but returned to practice this week with a chance to suit up Sunday.