Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart and Fantasy Preview: Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, Patrick Mahomes

Will Patrick Mahomes' new weapons help him return to the ranks of the elite? Let's check out the 2024 Kansas City Chiefs fantasy preview.

In fantasy football, we want good players on good offenses. Since 2018, Patrick Mahomes has been synonymous with an elite offense. But more recently, the Kansas City Chiefs have been lacking in fantasy options.

Just how many fantasy-relevant players will they have this year? Find out in our 2024 Kansas City Chiefs fantasy preview.

Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Depth Chart

QB
Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz, Ian Book

RB
Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, La’Mical Perine, Deneric Prince

WR1
Rashee Rice, Kadarius Toney, Justyn Ross

WR2
Hollywood Brown, Justin Watson, Cornell Powell

WR3
Xavier Worthy, Skyy Moore

TE
Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Irv Smith

Patrick Mahomes’ Fantasy Outlook

After five consecutive seasons averaging at least 20.7 fantasy points per game and finishing no lower than overall QB6, Mahomes was merely the QB10 last season, averaging 18.4 fantasy points per game.

There are a couple of things we can point at to explain Mahomes’ decrease in production.

NFL defenses are taking away the deep ball. Mahomes didn’t suddenly become a terrible deep ball passer. The reason he averaged a career-low 7.0 yards per attempt is because he’s not going to force the ball downfield when it’s not there.

This worked out fine for the Chiefs (they did win the Super Bowl, after all), but the lack of splash plays isn’t great for fantasy.

Mahomes also has never had a worse group of pass-catchers. Last season, Rice didn’t emerge as a starter until the second half of the season. For most of the year, he was throwing to a rotation of Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Watson, and Ross. We may look back at this group in a few years as one of the worst sets of WRs in NFL history.

Despite Mahomes being Superman and winning a Super Bowl anyway, the Chiefs finally got him some help.

Brown and Worthy can both put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses. They are also vastly superior to every wide receiver Mahomes has ever had not named Tyreek Hill.

For the past five years, Mahomes has been right up there with the likes of Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson as the elite QBs. For the first time ever, he’s firmly below them this season.

Mahomes is a value. I think he will wreck the league and win MVP this year. Draft him.

Isiah Pacheco’s Fantasy Outlook

The skepticism surrounding Isiah Pacheco’s legitimacy last year was warranted. Always, always, always be weary of Day 3 and UDFA running backs. A seventh-round RB does not have job security until he does.

Based on what Pacheco did last season, combined with the Chiefs’ actions this offseason, I believe Pacheco has graduated to secure starter.

Pacheco is coming off a high-RB2 season. He averaged 15.3 fantasy points per game, finishing as the overall RB14. Equally important is the fact that Pacheco got hurt late in the year, missed time, watched Edwards-Helaire play reasonably well, and then came back to his full workload. That’s job security.

Jerick McKinnon and CEH being hurt later in 1the year contributed to Pacheco’s increased role as pass catcher, but the mere fact the Chiefs were willing to give him over a 70% snap share from Week 12 onward speaks volumes about their confidence in him.

Pacheco saw a 9.9% target share, which was only 26th in the league. But for the lead running back on the Chiefs, that’s plenty.

Pacheco doesn’t need to be Austin Ekeler; he just needs to supplement his rushing with 2-3 receptions a game. He’s proven he can do that.

The Chiefs struggled at times offensively last year due to their abysmal wide receivers. I’m expecting a much more efficient offense this time around. That means Pacheco could improve upon his nine total touchdowns last season.

It may feel wrong to value Pacheco as a top-12 running back, but he absolutely belongs. The only reason he wouldn’t be worth drafting is if you opt to go with a wide receiver instead.

Rashee Rice’s Fantasy Outlook

When it comes to all three of the Chiefs’ fantasy-relevant wide receivers, there’s a cloud of uncertainty hanging over their fantasy values. It’s impossible to fully evaluate any of them while we await news on how long Rashee Rice’s suspension will be.

If Rice gets suspended for two to four games, that’s like a minor injury. I wouldn’t adjust anyone’s value by a meaningful amount. But if Rice gets suspended for five to six games or for half the season, that will seriously impact what fantasy managers should do. For now, we’re going to assume a small suspension.

Rice wound up averaging 13.3 fantasy points per game last season, finishing as the overall WR28. However, he was even better than that given that he didn’t become a full-time starter until around Week 12.

From Weeks 12-17, Rice averaged an impressive 18.5 fantasy points per game.

It’s easy to look at Rice’s 4.8 aDOT (average depth of target) as a negative. What I see, instead, is a guy being deliberately targeted near the line of scrimmage for a reason.

Of course, downfield targets are preferable. But if Rice can see a 25% target share and continue being effective after the catch (his 653 yards after the catch were third-most last season), Rice has all the makings of a fantasy WR1.

The additions of Brown and Worthy are not concerns, as neither operates in the same area of the field as Rice. They complement each other perfectly.

Hollywood Brown’s Fantasy Outlook

It’s impossible to assess the fantasy value of Hollywood Brown without mentioning Worthy. These are both very fast players who both profile as stretch Z receivers. Worthy projects to be one. Brown already is one.

Brown is the veteran. Given Andy Reid’s history handling rookies, it’s safe to assume Brown will start in two-receiver sets opposite Rice. In three-receiver sets, Rice probably moves to the slot.

Brown is already the most talented WR2 of Mahomes’ career. He had an underwhelming year last season, but prior to that, Brown had back-to-back seasons of 14.1 and 13.0 fantasy points per game.

In a Chiefs offense that throws the ball 61% of the time in neutral game script with the greatest quarterback to ever live, Brown has WR2 upside.

The biggest question is whether he will be the clear WR2 or share the role with Xavier Worthy…

Xavier Worthy’s Fantasy Outlook

Which brings us to the rookie. Based on how Reid handled Rice last season, we should project Brown to open as the starter. However, there are a lot of variables at play here.

First, if Rice does miss the first few weeks of the season, that could result in an immediate opportunity for Worthy. If Xavier Worthy outplays Brown, he could end up overtaking him as the WR2 by the time Rice returns.

Second, Reid could opt to bring the rookie along slowly. That would make Worthy, who will be drafted in all leagues, a drop candidate early in the season, but someone to monitor over the second half for a potential breakout, similar to Rice last year.

Third, and perhaps most likely, is this could be a rotation. Before Reid ultimately committed to Rice as the WR1, the Chiefs’ band of misfit toys rotated in and out, with no one playing more than 60% of the snaps.

Rice is going to be locked in as the primary guy, but we could see Brown and Worthy both around 50-60% snap share. That would be the worst-case scenario for each of their fantasy values.

Travis Kelce’s Fantasy Outlook

Rumors of Travis Kelce’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

Entering his age 35 season, the future Hall of Fame TE signed a two-year extension. That doesn’t mean he won’t retire after this season, but it does mean he’s not planning to right now. It suggests Kelce feels he still has plenty left in the tank.

That’s great news, but I still have concerns.

Kelce still finished as the overall TE1 last season. However, his 14.6 fantasy points per game marked his lowest average since 2016.

Although it was his second consecutive top finish at the position from a points-per-game standpoint, he averaged a full 4.0 points per contest fewer than he did in 2022.

The value in Kelce as an early-round pick has never been solely the fact that he’s the best tight end. It’s that he’s the best tight end by a wide margin and provides WR1 numbers at the tight end position. Kelce didn’t do that last season.

In 2022, Kelce provided the single largest gap between the overall TE1 and overall TE2 in the history of fantasy football. Last year, every single top-12 tight end was closer to Kelce than the second-best tight end was in 2022. He was still the best, but the advantage was far, far less.

Kelce has seen a steady decline in his snap share over the past few seasons. As he gets older and the regular season becomes more and more of a formality for the Chiefs, there will be an increased emphasis on keeping him fresh for the playoffs. I believe that played an integral role in the Chiefs signing a wide receiver in free agency and trading up to draft another.

There will be games where Kelce has to be Kelce. But there will also be games where the team simply doesn’t need him and opts to give him a break.

If anyone can prove me wrong, it will be Kelce. But as things currently stand, I am no longer interested in spending an early-round pick on the perennial TE1.

Chiefs Fantasy Sleepers

Last season, there were a bevy of sleeper options on the Chiefs. Rice was the only one to pan out, but at least there were choices.

This season, roles seem far more solidified. Fantasy managers know all about Rice, Brown, and Worthy. The backfield is no longer a question mark. The only “sleeper,” if you can call him that, would be Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The Chiefs’ former RB1 returned to the team on a one-year deal. He is the primary handcuff to Pacheco. That would be where his value lies. We saw CEH post RB2 numbers when Pacheco missed a couple of games last season. He can probably do it again if need be.

Outside of Edwards-Helaire, there’s nothing here to get excited about. Even if one or two of the wide receivers went down, we already know the likes of Toney and Moore are not capable of producing.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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