KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 20: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) drops back to pass in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs on January 20, 2019 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes was 2018’s biggest breakout star in both real football and fantasy football. Mahomes spent the 2018 season destroying defenses while putting up gaudy numbers and ended the year as the QB1 by a comfortable margin. However, the stud passer probably won’t have Tyreek Hill by his side in 2019. How will Hill’s absence affect the reigning MVP’s 2019 fantasy performance and his fantasy draft stock?

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Fantasy Football 2019 Outlook: Patrick Mahomes

2018 Recap

Patrick Mahomes was 2018’s quarterback of the year, and it wasn’t even close. Entering his first full season as a starter, Mahomes set the world on fire by completing 66% of his passes for 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. On top of that, Mahomes also added 272 rushing yards and two touchdowns for good measure. Mahomes finished as the QB1, averaging 26.1 points-per-game in standard scoring. By comparison, Matt Ryan finished second with 22.1 fantasy points-per-game.

Mahomes inherited a perfect situation for fantasy success in 2018. First, and most importantly, is the fact that Mahomes is a genuinely fantastic quarterback. He’s smart enough to read defenses, athletic enough to buy time, and has the arm to reach any part of the field along with the accuracy to put the ball wherever he wants it.

That alone made him a top-five quarterback, but Mahomes also was surrounded with fantastic offensive talent in Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins. The cherry on top was a defense which couldn’t stop anything to save its’ life. All these factors combined to create an environment where Mahomes needed to throw the ball early and often, resulting in one of the best individual performances in recent memory. Entering his age 24 season, Mahomes should remain one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league. However, is he capable of putting the same gaudy numbers in Year Two?

2019 Projection

The short answer: probably not. This isn’t a shot at Mahomes, as he’s undeniably one of the best quarterbacks in the league. However, it’s statically impossible for Mahomes to match his 2018 greatness. Mahomes was absurdly efficient, and he’s going to suffer some natural regression in 2019.

Patrick Mahomes threw touchdown passes on a ridiculous 8.6% of his pass attempts. Russell Wilson was the closest at 8.2%, but nobody else eclipsed 7%. The league average typically sits in the mid-5’s, so Mahomes’ touchdown rate will go down. Additionally, his 8.79 yards-per-attempt is wholly unsustainable and should decrease in 2018.

Sustaining 2018’s success is hard enough on its own, but the task is made harder by the presumed departure of Tyreek Hill. It’s hard to imagine any universe where Hill plays in 2019, and Kansas City clearly doesn’t expect him to be back. The Chiefs selected wide receiver Mecole Hardman with their second-round pick to essentially play the Tyreek Hill role. Hardman is a promising young product, but he won’t be able to replicate Hill’s ridiculous production.

Mahomes will still be one of the best quarterbacks in fantasy football and could easily finish the year as the QB1. However, he won’t be able to match last year’s success. Losing a top-10 receiver obviously hinders production and, even with Hill, it’s impossible to maintain Mahomes’ level of efficiency.

Average Draft Position

Fantasy Football Calculator currently has Mahomes as the 25th overall pick, going off the board with the 12th pick of the second round. If you’re a person who likes drafting quarterbacks early, you’d probably be happy with grabbing Mahomes here. However, you should pass on Mahomes, simply because you shouldn’t draft quarterbacks early.

In today’s pass-happy era of football, there are anywhere from 20-25 quarterbacks capable of putting up QB1 production on a weekly basis. Patrick Mahomes will put up tons of fantasy points, but a late-round pick like Josh Allen can still give you a strong week-to-week performance. Drafting Mahomes means passing on a guy like Keenan Allen or Damien Williams, and it’s significantly harder to find good running backs and wide receivers than it is to find good quarterbacks.

At the end of the day, Patrick Mahomes is too good to draft. While this might sound ridiculous, the fact of the matter is that somebody else in your league is going to draft Mahomes over a capable RB2 or WR2. Smart fantasy football players should find their QB1 in the later rounds of the draft and stock up on running backs and wide receivers instead of Patrick Mahomes.

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