Patrick Mahomes warns fantasy managers against relying on specific Chiefs receivers

·3 min read

With Tyreek Hill gone, the Kansas City Chiefs have a void at wide receiver No. 1.

For fantasy managers looking to project this season's top Chiefs target, Patrick Mahomes has a message: Good luck. The Kansas City quarterback addressed fantasy players on Wednesday, warning them to expect week-to-week variance from the Kansas City receiving corps in 2022.

"I think the biggest thing is just going to be that it's going to be a different player every week that has the 'big game,' Mahomes told reporters, per the team. "It's not going to be just necessarily Tyreek and Travis (Kelce) every single week, where it's like one or the other is having a big game, or both.

"It's going to be every single week — it's going to be someone different. So, I'm sorry to all you fantasy football guys, but it's going to come from everywhere so you're going to have to kind of choose the right guy every week."

That noise you hear is JuJu Smith-Schuster managers groaning.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 13: Marquez Valdes-Scantling #11, JuJu Smith-Schuster #9, and Patrick Mahomes #15 look on against the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, left and JuJu Smith-Schuster have a big opportunity while catching passes from Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The reality here is that nobody's going to fill Hill's void. He's a one-of-a-kind playmaker whose absence will shift how the Chiefs run their offense in 2022. All Mahomes did on Wednesday was acknowledge as much.

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In five seasons of largely healthy seasons catching passes from Mahomes, Hill averaged 125 targets, 83.6 catches, 1,207 yards and 10 touchdowns per season. It's a steep bar. With Hill gone to Miami, the Chiefs' wide receiver depth chart has newcomers Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the starting lineup with second-round rookie Skyy Moore and Mecole Hardman as the primary backups.

Meanwhile former Bucs receiver Justin Watson lingers as an option. He and Mahomes built chemistry in the preseason while connecting for a handful of big plays, including this 39-yard deep ball to set up a touchdown against Washington in Week 2.

Barring the emergence of Moore as an elite option or the return of Smith-Schuster to his 2018 Pro Bowl form, it adds up to a receiver-by-committee approach with a chance for different players to shine on any given week — so, what Mahomes said. Until and unless someone stands out as the clear top target, inconsistency should be expected.

As for Kelce, he tallied 92 catches for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns while making his seventh-straight Pro Bowl last season. Barring a precipitous decline at 32 years old, there's little reason to expect his production to fall in 2022. He remains Mahomes' safety valve and among the very best at what he does in the NFL. Don't expect his production to drop.