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Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Per NFL insider Albert Breer, the Chiefs have seen a “more mature version” of WR Mecole Hardman this offseason. Breer writes that Hardman “had a lot of growing up to do coming into the NFL,” even beyond his rookie season. It’s a huge year for the 24-year-old, as his contract is set to expire in 2023. But following the additions of Skyy Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster, it’s clear that Kansas City isn’t expecting a major leap from the incumbent.

Chiefs HC Andy Reid gave his assessment of rookie WR Skyy Moore at minicamp. “He looks strong,” Reid said recently. “You see that — the way he’s built physically. That transfers. You see those 10 [inch] hands that he has. He catches everything… and he’s a good route runner, a smart kid. He seemed to pick it [the offense] up well.” Moore will battle JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman for targets in training camp. Currently, the rookie projects as a fringe top-50 fantasy option.

Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride says that his "way too early" picks to lead the Chiefs in receiving yardage this year are TE Travis Kelce and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. This is likely based primarily on watching minicamp practices to date. It's worth noting that Skyy Moore and Mecole Hardman have missed some time with hamstring issues, though both have been on the field this week for mandatory minicamp. We'll keep watching for reports on expected target distribution within Kansas City's rebuilt WR corps. Sweeney also said last week that "no new Chiefs pass-catcher looks more comfortable with Mahomes" than MVS.

The Chiefs are re-signing RB Jerick McKinnon to a 1-year deal, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports. We'll see what kind of money is involved here, but it's at least noteworthy that Kansas City let McKinnon toil on the open market for about 3 months. McKinnon came up big for the Chiefs in the playoffs, carrying 34 times for 150 yards and catching 14 of 17 targets for 165 yards and a score. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire was limited during that stretch coming off a shoulder injury, though. And McKinnon totaled just 12 carries and 20 targets during the regular season. We'll see how this backfield shakes out this summer between Edwards-Helaire, McKinnon and Ronald Jones.

According to Nate Taylor of The Athletic, there is an "already strong connection that is growing between [Patrick] Mahomes and [Marquez] Valdes-Scantling." The wideout, of course, signed a 3-year deal with Kansas City this offseason that's basically a 2-year pact with an option for Year 3. He's competing with fellow free-agent addition JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Skyy Moore for roles in the wake of Tyreek Hill's trade to Miami. HC Andy Reid seems to like what he's seeing so far: “He’s a big kid, but he’s got really good flexibility. He can change directions and he’s got that speed, which we all knew he had. He’s able to work some of the primary underneath routes that he maybe didn’t do quite as much in Green Bay because of who they had there. I’ve been pleased with how he goes about his business. He’s doing a nice job.” The shorter routes could be key. MVS was almost strictly a downfield operator in Green Bay, consistently ranking among the league leaders in average depth of target. If he can add more short-to-mid range looks, though, Valdes-Scantling could draw more consistent targets and become easier to insert into weekly fantasy lineups. We'll keep watching this situation. He's at least intriguing as the 3rd Kansas City WR in ADP on both Underdog and FFPC.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes called WR Justin Watson a "pleasant surprise" after throwing to him earlier this offseason. “That dude can roll," Mahomes said. "He came down to Texas. I threw with him the first day, and I called (general manager Brett) Veach and I was like, ‘Wait, how fast is this guy?’ He was running so fast that I was late on my throws. He’s had two great days.” Watson, a former 5th-round pick of the Bucs, has only 23 catches through 4 pro seasons. But he has a nice combination of size and athleticism and finds opportunity in a reshuffling Chiefs WR corps. We'll keep an eye on him this summer.

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire revealed on the Arrowhead Addict podcast that he missed a bunch of time last offseason after undergoing gallbladder surgery in early March. "My gall bladder completely stopped working," CEH said. "I was down to about 160 pounds... I didn’t run, didn’t do anything all the way up until [OTAs] and was still dealing with stitches and recovery over the course of the summer.” That can at least be partly to blame for Edwards-Helaire's underwhelming 2021 campaign. This will actually be his 1st full offseason with the Chiefs, and Edwards-Helaire says he's "completely healthy." He added, "This offseason is gonna be perfect for me to do the things I need to do to have the season I feel like I should have." There remains plenty of fantasy appeal here -- largely because of the offense CEH is operating in. And he's cheaper than ever, with a 7th-round ADP in FFPC best-ball drafts.

Clemson HC Dabo Swinney revealed that only 4 NFL teams medically cleared Chiefs WR Justyn Ross. Ross missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing surgery to address a bulging disc and congenital fusion condition in his neck and spine. He was eventually cleared to play at Clemson last year, but it's a reminder that he's a major injury risk moving forward. It's why he went undrafted -- before signing with Kansas City.

Per Nate Taylor of the Athletic, the Chiefs believe rookie WR Skyy Moore “can excel as a secondary slot receiver behind Smith-Schuster and be a possible deep threat on the perimeter in one-on-one matchups.” Moore’s undersized — both in height and wingspan. But he brings blazing speed and quicks and sure hands. Marquez Valdes-Scantling profiles as the field-stretcher with JuJu Smith-Schuster working the short to intermediate routes. Moore’s usage figures to be diverse in an offense that lost 260 targets with the offseason departures of Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. The rookie is battling a minor hamstring tweak at the moment, but there's no cause for concern.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Chiefs are signing former Clemson WR Justyn Ross as an undrafted free agent. Medicals are the big concern with Ross. He had surgery in June 2020 to address a bulging disc and congenital fusion condition in his neck and spine. That cost him the entire 2020 campaign. Ross was medically cleared to return this past August but missed more time in 2021 with a stress fracture in his foot that eventually required surgery. He then disappointed with a 26th percentile Relative Athletic Score at the Combine – although it’s possible that he still wasn’t 100% recovered from the foot surgery. What Ross has going for him is the most impressive freshman season of any WR in this class. He led a 2018 Tigers team that also included WRs Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow and Amari Rodgers with 1,000 receiving yards. Ross ranked 2nd in Pro Football Focus’ 2018 receiving grades among 286 WRs with 50+ targets. He fell behind Higgins in 2019 but still finished with a solid 66-865-8 line. Ross wasn’t a big separator at Clemson but has some of the best ball skills and contested-catch ability in this WR class. That should play at the next level for the 6’4, 205-pounder. Landing in K.C. obviously adds the upside of playing with QB Patrick Mahomes. We'll see how the Chiefs sort out a WR corps that shed Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson this offseason, and added JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore and Corey Coleman.

The Chiefs added Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore with the 54th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Moore played QB and CB in high school but transitioned to WR as a freshman at Western Michigan. He made an immediate impact, leading that 2019 squad with 802 receiving yards. Moore played in just 5 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, averaging 5.0 catches, 77.6 yards and .6 TDs per. Those marks ranked 2nd behind 5th-year senior D’Wayne Eskridge. With Eskridge finally off to the NFL, Moore turned in a big 2021, ranking 9th nationwide in catches (95), 14th in receiving yards (1,292) and 21st in receiving TDs (10). He finished 3rd in Pro Football Focus receiving grade behind only Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba and USC’s Drake London. Moore is just 5’10 but is well-built at 195 pounds. That helped him lead all WRs with 26 missed tackles forced last year, per PFF. Moore is also an explosive route runner and has 4.4 speed to win downfield. He was effective from both outside the numbers and the slot at Western Michigan and should bring position versatility to the NFL. The only real knock on Moore is that he faced lower-end competition in the MAC. This is obviously a strong landing spot alongside HC Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs added EDGE George Karlaftis with the 30th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Karlaftis tallied 12 sacks and 27 total tackles for loss in his 2 full seasons with Purdue. (Injury and COVID limited him to just 2 games in 2020.) Karlaftis ran slow in pre-draft testing which could point to a limited IDP ceiling. But he lands in a situation with opportunity as soon as he proves ready.

The Chiefs moved up to the 21st pick of the NFL Draft to select CB Trent McDuffie. The 3-year Washington corner offered little from a numbers standpoint in college, totaling just 2 INTs and 8 passes defensed -- with 6 of those coming last year. We're not betting on big IDP value from McDuffie, though he should enter the lineup quickly.

Chiefs HC Andy Reid called RBs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones a "good combo." Added Reid of Jones, “He’s a tough runner with good vision. I’ll take that, and he needs that opportunity to feel like he’s a major part of this thing. We’ll give him that." It sure sounds like the Chiefs view Jones as real competition for CEH, rather than an insurance policy. This will be 1 of the more important backfields to monitor this summer.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reports that the Chiefs are "calling teams" trying to trade for a "top receiver." We could speculate on whom that might mean, but who would have ever guess that this offseason would include Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill being traded. For now, it's just a signal that we shouldn't get too comfy with the idea of either JuJu Smith-Schuster or Marquez Valdes-Scantling leading Kansas City in targets this season. Keep this possibility in mind as you decide where to value the recently signed wideouts in current best-ball drafting.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Chiefs "plan to" sign RB Ronald Jones to a 1-year deal worth "up to" $5 million. We'll see how attainable those incentives look once the contract is finalized. We all knew Kansas City would be in the market for at least 1 RB after the team let Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon reach unrestricted free agency. The Chiefs reportedly negotiated with Williams before the start of free agency. We'd still bet on Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading this backfield in touches. Jones has flashed some rushing skills over his 4 seasons, but he saw a 3-year low in carries (101 in 16 games) last season and garnered only 13 targets. He looks interesting in mid-to-low RB4 range for now. We'll see whether K.C. is done adding to its stable.

The Chiefs are signing WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a 3-year, $30 million deal, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The pact reportedly includes $18 million in guarantees over the first 2 years and a max value of $36 million. Compare that with the mere 1-year, $3.25 million contract WR JuJu Smith-Schuster got from K.C. earlier this offseason, and it sure seems like the Chiefs plan for the former Packer to take on a larger passing-game role. We'll see whether the Chiefs are done adding significant pieces to this group, with wideouts still on the open market plus a strong incoming rookie class at the position.

Former Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster announced Friday that he's signing with the Chiefs. He should face little competition -- at least among what's currently rostered -- for the #2 wideout position. That hasn't been a high-upside role with Andy Reid's Chiefs, though. No K.C. WR besides Tyreek Hill has finished higher than 47th in the PPR rankings since 2015. That #47 finish came last year from Mecole Hardman, who should lose some target share to Smith-Schuster. WR Byron Pringle's departure for Chicago leaves some targets available, but he drew just 8.9% of the looks last year. We'd bet on Smith-Schuster overtaking Hardman as the team's 2nd-most targeted wideout. The landing spot should boost the average target depth for Smith-Schuster after that number dwindled to 5.5 and 6.5 yards the past 2 seasons. He was at 8.8 and 9.7 his 1st 2 years in the league. The Chiefs also like to move their WRs around. So we'd bet on Smith-Schuster coming down from the 80+% of time he spent in the slot the past 2 seasons. He's also likely to jump up the ADP charts with the K.C. landing, so be wary of overpaying in best-ball drafts going forward.

The Chiefs have agreed with S Justin Reid on a 3-year, $31.5 million deal (with $20 million guaranteed), according to multiple reports. Still just 25 coming off his 4th pro season, Reid posted career-low fantasy production in 2021 amid injury and team issues. In K.C., he should occupy an upside IDP spot next to S Juan Thornhill. His arrival also almost certainly means that Tyrann Mathieu is heading elsewhere in free agency.

The Chiefs on Tuesday re-signed WR Josh Gordon ahead of free agency. The wideout -- who will turn 31 in mid-April -- caught only 5 passes (among 14 targets) in 12 games for the 2021 Chiefs. Odds remain against him becoming a fantasy factor.

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