Kansas City Chiefs Late August Scouting Report
Training camp for the Chiefs in 2020 is officially completed. Marking the end of camp fun-n-frolic was the hoisting of the championship flag recognizing the Super Bowl LIV winners. The flag-raising ceremony at Arrowhead Stadium not only marked the end of training camp, but also officially closed the door on 2019. Coach Andy Reid and his staff now have complete focus on what lies ahead for a hopeful repeat. Big Red knows full well the challenges and many post-title failures of past Super Bowl winners a season following a successful title run. Coach Andy has his club coming out of the pre-season sessions relatively healthy and the latest Super Bowl winning head coach says his players and coaches got a great deal accomplished despite the Covid-19 induced weirdness and restrictions.
Fanballers looking for what lies ahead for the 2020 version of the Chiefs can now feel pretty confident in some of the role-defining results as the players break camp. Let us hit some updated fantasy football draft thoughts related to key units and players for Kansas City.
QB Patrick Mahomes:
The young man is impressive on and off the field. Let’s stay ON the field here. A quick review of what the fire-balling passer has already delivered to his fantasy coaches reveals:
An average of 303.6 yards a game passing in his 31 pro games (all starts).
In those 31 games the man from Texas Tech launched 76 TDs.
At 303 yards a game, Mahomes will break 10,000 yards at some point in the game versus the Chargers in Los Angeles, week 2.
He does this feat in what is essentially 2 full seasons of play (31 games).
Mahomes has an average of 35 passes attempted per game.
Fantasy-friendly 8.6 YPA and 13.0 yards per completion.
4 rushing TDs and 34 first downs using his legs to keep drives alive.
Mahomes is just getting started fantasy folks. With his head and heart all in the right places, Mahomes should crush his 2019 production, which was pretty tame by his own standards… but anticipated. Entering 2019 I noted though Mahomes was likely going to "play" better in his 2nd season as starting QB, his numbers would likely experience a sizeable dip. 2020 is a year to jump all-in on Mahomes. Assuming the club avoids any more major C-19 or other key injuries, Patrick Mahomes is set to reach 4600 yards through the air, 38 TDs.
Offensive line play is as important to the success of Patrick Mahomes as any other factor other than the QB himself. The projected starting five linemen coming out of camp are:
LT Eric Fisher
LG Kelechi Osemele
C Austin Reiter
RG Andrew Wylie
RT Mitchell Schwartz
It is a good unit and line guru Andy Heck should prove once again he is a master at getting the most out of the talent on-hand. Coach Heck and Coach Reid both have an uncanny eye for latent blocking talents that can be sculpted into solid blocks of granite on the front lines.
Rookie Clyde Edwards- Helaireis thrust into a very big role earlier than he or the Chiefs coaching staff figured thanks to the opt-out by presumed starter Damien Williams. Edwards-Helaire is more than up to the task and his skill-set is one that Coach Reid has smartly utilized in past RBs; Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt. Difference here is Coach must toss his rookie into the fires week 1 and that can be overwhelming even for an accomplished and skilled tailback like Edwards-Helaire. Fanballers might be a tad disappointed the first few games as the rook may still be ‘held’ to a limited role, sharing snaps with another back almost equally. The question for fanballers throughout camp has been…
Who is the RB directly behind the rookie now that Damien Williams is out of the picture?
Answer: Darrel Williams… and for a couple of reasons most might not realize.
First and most importantly, Williams EARNED the depth chart promotion in camp. He sure didn’t rely on his 2019 production of 41 carries, 141 rushing yards, 3.4 YPC and 3 TDs, but the undrafted RB took full advantage of the open opportunity left by Damien Williams’ sit-out decision. Williams isn’t swift or shifty, but he is a strong tackle-breaker and a better than expected receiver. In his final year at LSU (2017) Williams hauled in 23 passes at a WR-like 14.4 YPR. Those 23 catches, in perspective, were 3rd overall on that LSU team that included WR DJ Chark (40 catches), TE Foster Moreau (24 receptions), WR Russell Gage (21 catches) and RB Derrius Guice (18 snares).
Ah, LSU… there lies the other key to Darrel Williams and the success of rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
All rookies benefit greatly from a veteran taking the time and showing them the NFL ropes. Darrel Williams has been here before with Edwards-Helaire back in 2017 at LSU. The Chiefs 2020 rookie rusher was a freshman on that 2017 LSU squad; Williams was a senior, sharing a backfield with Guice. Williams was not a prop either while Guice was doing his thing back then. In 2017 Williams gained 1151 YFS on 168 touches, averaged 6.9 yards per touch (outstanding!) and scored 9 TDs. He carried gravitas on that team and helped Edwards-Helaire learn the LSU ways.
Darrel Williams showed Clyde Edwards-Helaire a lot of "how to" back at LSU by performing on and off the field and the pair of Fighting Tigers get to do it again here.
Darwin Thompson lines up 3rd off 3rd in the RB room and I’mkinda shocked DeAndre Washington has done next to nothing thus far.
It is clear Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman will lead the WRs in snaps and catches for the Chiefs in 2020. Coach Reid wants to expand Hardman’s participation, but the 2nd-season wideout is still in a fantasy microwave point producing role, heating up fantasy points in minimal opportunities. I do have to scale-back my exuberance for Sammy Watkins as we break camp. Watkins’ 2019 playoff works rekindled my fantasy football fires for Sudden Sammy and I anticipated he rediscovered his own fire for the game. However, recent coach-speak and Watkins’ rather quiet training camp have reduced those flames to embers. I expect more of what we saw in 2019, but at least a few more scores scattered through the schedule. Tyreek Hill is a blast and a given as a fantasy football WR1.
BTW, Special Teams Coach-Supreme Dave Toub has lined up super-fast Mecole Hardman on field goal teams, using his elite speed off the edge. What next, Tyreek Hill on the opposite edge?
Travis Kelce is really the WR2 (or is it WR1B) in KC. That’s all we need to say about that situation.
With a name like "Butker" fanballers best know this is a top-shelf fantasy football kicker. Harrison Butker may be the best in the booting biz right now.
A few IDP notes:
Frank Clark is the every day, 3-down starter at one DE position and the other will be manned (starter) by my guy, TonahKpassagnon. Can you smell the breakout form K-Pass? (FINALLY!!).
Combine and draft fans will be wondering if 2nd-round LB Willie Gay will be seeing quality snaps early. Uh… don’t bet on it. Gay has not been much of a factor in camp and is learning the pro craft in 2020. End that story here.
Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilsonare the returning starters at LB. The 3rd spot, the one covering RBs and TEs along with chasing the ball from the perimeter is Ben Niemann. Niemann showed his coaches last season he has the chops to stick in coverage and the athleticism to get after ballcarriers swiftly. Fanballers in IDP leagues looking for a sneaky new LB to fill your lineups; Ben Niemann. Just know that when the Chiefs need to go with the extra DB, Niemann has been the ‘backer off the field.
CB BashaudBreelandopens the season suspended over the first four games. Surprise… rookie L’Jarius Sneed (Louisiana Tech, 4th round, 2020) got the first team reps in the final sessions at camp. Sneed came into the NFL as a free safety but has transitioned to CB. He goes 6’-195 and bolts a 4.39-forty. He’s not afraid to take on rushers and also has good ball skills. There is sure to be some rotation, but it appears the rook has sealed the job for at least 4 games.
Good luck in your fantasy drafts and auctions. Whatever you do and however you do your team building, have fun and enjoy the process. Be open-minded this season and do not dismiss any player on an NFL roster because of depth chart rankings. With the potential for player outages due to C-19 spread some NFL coaches could be starting RBs listed 4thon the charts, or a couple of WRs sitting in the back rows of WR rooms.
In this season of uncertainty, stay positive and enjoy the stories about to unfold.
Best thing to do when it rains is…
LET IT RAIN.
The Definitive Fantasy Information Service
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