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What Does Tyreek Hill's Return Mean for the Chiefs?


What does Tyreek Hill mean to the Kansas City offense? Well, everything. Not only did he lead the team’s receivers in targets with 137 but he also led them with 87 receptions, 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns. These stats not only made him the number one receiver on his own team but made him the WR1 overall for standard fantasy leagues. Losing Tyreek Hill for the year or even part of the year would have meant the need to find a replacement for his target share in the offense - a share which last season was at 23.6%. While not as high as some other receivers who can command 25% or more, the 17.0 yards per catch was second in the league to only DeSean Jackson. Thus, the target share he does get is just as valuable in the long run.

We don't need to get into the details of Hill's off-the-field troubles, as those have been well-documented and are unpleasant. The short summary is that he has placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List for a short time while the league looked into a domestic matter. Lack of evidence resulted in a dropped case and the league announced on July 19 that Hill would not be suspended.

Many early drafts have baked in a possible suspension to Hill's ADP, meaning he could be a steal in the fourth round or later. This also had a ripple effect on some other Chiefs players as well. Now that we know Hill is set to play a full 16-game schedule, how do we proceed accordingly?

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Domino Effect

First of all, Sammy Watkins takes a hit with the news of the Hill return. He won't be the main receiver anymore but if Watkins can stay healthy, he will not take as much a hit as you would think.

Yes, this makes Watkins the third fiddle. But in what has now returned to the top offense in the NFL, third fiddle is a lot better than other teams' second fiddle.

We have seen teams under Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff support two elite wide receivers. Patrick Mahomes is better than all of them. Watkins is also getting paid. His $16 million salary this season means if he is healthy, he is going to get a lot of work. A lot of work in this offense means a lot of production. While Sammy Watkins may no longer be a top-12 type receiver with Hill back, he is still certainly worthy of a top-20 grade. As the season gets closer and his price decreases severely, he will become a cheap way to get a part of the Kansas City offense. So, don’t write him off just yet.

Lesser-involved receivers like Demarcus Robinson and rookie Mecole Hardman were getting some preseason love by early drafters but their value now seems mostly shot. If Chris Conley didn't do anything of consequence last season, don't expect either of these players to do any better.

As for Travis Kelce, there is not much to say. He was the best tight end in the league last season with Hill on the field. He will be the best tight end again this season. He is going to get his and unless an injury to him were to occur, there is no conceivable way he does not finish as a top-two tight end at worst. This is why he is currently going either late in round one or early in round two in drafts and this is not set to change due to the news of Hill’s return. With this said, Let’s move to the run game.

 

Running Backs

Kareem Hunt is gone. Carlos Hyde is in, but he is not a known pass-catching threat. Besides this, Andy Reid has already come out and announced Damien Williams is the starter.

Yes, the contract of Damien Williams is not very big. But in a league increasingly moving towards the "running backs don’t matter" mantra, what do you expect? Andy Reid has already come out and named him the starter for the season. If there is one thing we know about Reid, he loves a bell-cow back. This means you should not expect to see much of Hyde on the field, barring injury to Williams.

Whereas the return of Hill hinders the outlook for Sammy Watkins a bit, the same can not be said for Williams. If he was not in your top-15 ranking at the RB position before, he should firmly be there now. Hill not only caught 87 catches last season, but he also ran the ball 22 times for 151 yards. This ability to stretch the defense will open up massive lanes for Williams. This will only increase when the Chiefs get inside the 10-yard line. This is a position on the field they will find themselves in often. Damien Williams will shine in this area of the field and he will have a massive dose of goal-line carries and touchdowns in 2019.

The ceiling for Williams just went through the roof. With this, his draft price is set to soar as well. You may have been getting him late in the second round. Those days are done. He should move into the top of the round or even the back end of the first-round before most redrafts leagues make their picks. And he is well worth the price.

If you are concerned at all about the usage of James Conner in Pittsburgh or the health of Dalvin Cook? Well, Damien Williams may be your safety blanket pick over them. He will provide you with top-12 RB production and his ceiling may be even higher. He should be viewed much the same as Conner or Cook, but without the concerns.

 

Bottom Line

Tyreek Hill, the number one wide receiver of 2018 fantasy leagues is back. For fantasy purposes this is great. Not just for him but also for the surrounding cast for the Chiefs. In dynasty, I am still a bit nervous. But for this season and on this team, the sky is the limit.

Having him in your top-five receivers seems to be a certainty. If you were lucky to snag him at his current price in the fifth round of drafts than good for you. This is not going to be the case come next week. His price is only going to go up as the season gets closer. By the time drafts are over and the season starts, look for him to be in the same late first to early second-round range now occupied by Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr.

Sammy Watkins, on the other hand, should become a better value. His injury concerns, whether warranted or not will hamper his ADP. With Hill back, Watkins price should drop to a palatable level.

In recent drafts occurring today, Hill has already dropped to the WR14 as the first pick in the fourth round while Sammy Watkins has dropped to WR27 as pick 6.07. This is a big difference already and with the price of Hill only set to go up from here, Watkins will even enhance his return on investment. I love him in the sixth-round. If he continues to fall into the seventh? I would grab him everywhere I could. And so should you.

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