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32 for 32: NFL Draft Predictions for the Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes - Fantasy Football Rankings, DFS Lineup Picks, NFL Injury News

The Chiefs offense was not the juggernaut last season that we saw in 2018, but the team capped off the year with a Super Bowl title. Will we get a championship hangover from the team or will we see closer to the highly productive fantasy scoring team from the year prior in 2020? Will the NFL Draft also welcome in talent to further this team's potential? Let's find out in our latest edition of the NFL Draft 32 for 32 series.

The focus of this series is to dive into each NFL team's needs to project their draft picks in this year's draft, which will go on as planned in late April. I will predict the first three selections and give fantasy football owners perspective on how this affects fantasy value. Whether it be a positional player or players on the defensive side of the ball, all selections made can help in some way when it comes to fantasy scoring.

As we have seen in recent memory, some rookies can enter this league and make an immediate impact. Based on the appropriate landing spot, this year's crop of prospects has the potential to create some very fantasy-friendly situations. When you're done here, look back on our previous installments by checking the links at the bottom of this page.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

2019 Review

The Chiefs came away with a Super Bowl victory in 2019 after a strong late-season surge. But after the magical season put forth in 2018, Patrick Mahomes saw a statistical regression last season. Sure, he got caught by the injury bug and missed two games, but the QB7 finish is not what fantasy owners were thinking they'd get from the high draft pick. His 28 total TD were almost half from his torrid 2018 pace. His turnovers dropped (five INT) but it did not stop him from taking shots down the field as he led the league in touchdown passes of 40-plus yards.

The regression could be blamed on the injuries but he did see an improvement in negatively graded throws, meaning he continues to work on his craft. Even with the dip in production last season, Mahomes will once again be talked up as the best QB in the league. Depending on the views of other owners in your league it will be either Mahomes or Lamar Jackson as the first drafted at the position.

The backfield of the Chiefs left many fantasy owners guessing a season ago. Whether it was LeSean McCoy or Damien Williams, the touches were hard to count on every week. The two backs nearly split the workload down the middle (McCoy with 101 rushes and Williams with 111). The same goes for their usage as receivers as well with Williams getting the 30-28 advantage there. If you combined the two, you would have had an RB that would have finished as a fringe RB1. But instead, you have a stable of backs that looks to be just as confusing heading into 2020.

Damien Williams will get the first crack as the starter based on his momentum to end the season and play in the title game, but the mix of backs behind him will get looks as well. As things stand, Williams should be valued as an RB3 in drafts based on his inconsistency, but the ceiling is there for him to become highly productive if given the workload. Darwin Thompson is very well-liked by the coaching staff and may get an increased role this season. The 2019 deep sleeper could very well become a 2020 sleeper and valuable handcuff to Williams.

When it comes to the pass-catchers, the Cheifs primarily feature a two-man operation with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Kelce had a fantastic year from a reception/yardage standpoint (97 catches for 1,229 yards) on his way to finishing as the top TE in fantasy. His five touchdowns were down from 10 and eight the previous two seasons and are a stat that will hopefully improve back to the norm in 2020. He's been the top TE in fantasy for four seasons now and once again should be in the mix as the first name off the board at the position in drafts.

Tyreek Hill missed four games last season with injuries, but once he returned he proved just why he is valuable to not only the Chiefs to fantasy owners as well. He was highly productive yet again (860 yards and seven TD) in only 12 games played. Four of his seven scores came on plays of 40-plus yards, legitimizing Hill as one of the league's premier deep threats. Hill should be one of the first receivers off the board in all formats.

The team decided to bring back both Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson for depth purposes and will be draftable players, but counting on them in starting lineups will be a stretch. Those two signings hurt the potential of second-year wideout Mecole Hardman, who himself had four touchdowns of 40-plus yards. Hardman now becomes a player to target late in drafts as a deep bench stash.

The draft for the defending Super Bowl champs should be quite interesting. They could go the route of finding a legitimate three-down back to work with and do away with the jumbled backfield, but the team seems content on the players they have. The secondary could use some improvement as they were mediocre in pass coverage a season ago. But the interior of the offensive line could use the most attention as they need to find ways to keep pressure off of their franchise QB.

 

Kansas City Chiefs - 2020 Outlook

TEAM GRADES
Offense: 80.6 (6th)
Defense: 62.6 (26th)
Overall: 84.0 (12th)

TEAM NEEDS

CB, OL, LB

 

First Selection (1.32)

A.J. Terrell, CB Clemson

With an immediate need at cornerback, the Chiefs nab Terrell to fill the position. He is long and thin but has good overall size. He plays press-man very well and should adapt his game to the next level very well. His foot agility allows him the patience to mirror the release of a receiver and ride them through the route.

He has a quick burst that can close a tight window fast but could have issues if asked to play off coverage or zone. His size and length give him the ability to hound 50/50 balls but lacks ball-hawking traits. He will be asked to be an early starter for the Chiefs and could struggle early on, but overall has the potential of being a solid pro.

 

Second Selection (2.31)

Cesar Ruiz, C Michigan

As the Chiefs attempt to rebuild the interior of the offensive line, selecting Ruiz is a good start. He is an athletic and tenacious prospect that has the skills and technique to fit into a variety of schemes. He wins early battles with quickness and fast hands as he's the first to initiate contact. He's very consistent in securing down-blocks and his athleticism will make him a factor on the second level.

His bend and leverage along with consistent feet allow him to fight off double teams. He can struggle at times setting up run lanes but he will polish that up in the pros. Ruiz will provide the team with some flexibility as a solid starter at center or even guard.

 

Third Selection (3.32)

Damien Lewis, OG LSU

Lewis is another addition to the Chiefs' interior that should bring help right away. He is a girthy prospect but does not carry around bad weight. He plays with a sense of measure and control. He excels as a run blocker that uses power and leverage to move even the best interior defensive linemen around. His pass-blocking skills could use some coaching as he can struggle if put on an island due to a lack of length and lateral quickness.

Overall, Lewis holds his own against bull rushers but will struggle to recover against quick defensive linemen. His addition provides the Chiefs will a player that can help the team establish what has been an inconsistent running game.

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