2023 Kansas City Chiefs Team Preview

Jun 20th 2023

Hayden Winks

The Kansas City Chiefs are pretty, pretty good at fantasy football. We can draft them all on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Advanced Stats

Home of the best 5-year QB peak of all time, the Chiefs ranked 1st in EPA per play on the highest neutral pass rate team in the league, despite trading away Tyreek Hill in the offseason. They still were 1st in 20+ yard pass plays and 1st in short-yardage success rate. That's almost impossible to do, but coach Andy Reid is rolling. The Chiefs OL has legit talent at all spots, allowing Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to dance around for easy first downs. Meanwhile, the inexpensive defense showed up with the 3rd-highest adjusted sack rate to create some takeaways. It's the perfect system all around (aside from the 28th-ranked 4th-down aggressiveness - come on).

2023 Kansas City Chiefs Starting Lineups

3-WR Sets (21st in snaps, 57% of snaps)

  • WR: Kadarius Toney --> Rashee Rice (R)

  • WR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling --> Justin Watson

  • SLOT: Skyy Moore --> Richie James

  • TE: Travis Kelce --> Noah Gray

2-WR Sets (8th in snaps, 31% of snaps)

  • WR: Kadarius Toney --> Skyy Moore

  • WR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling --> Rashee Rice (R)

  • SLOT TE: Travis Kelce --> Jody Fortson

  • INLINE TE: Noah Gray --> Blake Bell

RB Usage (13th in expected half PPR)

  • GOAL LINE: Isiah Pacheco --> Clyde Edwards-Helaire

  • PASSING DOWN: Jerick McKinnon --> Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Offensive Line (borderline top 5)

  • LT: Donovan Smith (inconsistent new starter)

  • LG: Joe Thuney (very good returner)

  • C: Creed Humphries (maybe the best C)

  • RG: Trey Smith (very good returner)

  • RT: Jawaan Taylor (decent new starter)

2023 Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Preview

Patrick Mahomes is good. Some would argue very good. His 5-year span has paced out to 5,155 passing yards and 41 touchdowns on a 17-game pace. Plus another 315 rushing yards and 2.5 touchdowns on the ground. Nothing about Mahomes' 2023 season is "regressionable" either, both with his 8.1 YPA and 6.3% TD rate. Overall, Mahomes has been the 16th overall (QB3) and 25th overall (QB4) in fantasy points over replacement per game over the last two years, despite the league playing him with non-stop two-high shells.

As he heads into his age-34 season, Travis Kelce has the best age-29, age-31, age-32, and age-33 fantasy TE seasons of all time. Last year was nuts, too. It was the 2nd-best TE season of all time, and Kelce's efficiency hasn't declined at all. His PFF grade was the 2nd-best of his career. His 2.3 yards per route run was above his career average. He broke the most missed tackles of his career. Wild stuff. He advanced on 30% of his teams with an ADP of 13th overall, which is why he's a top-8 pick now. Will it hold? Perhaps! Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez had TE1 overall seasons after 34 years old, but that's basically the only precedent. The bull case is Kelce's target competition remains weak, and he has the best chemistry in the NFL with his QB. In redraft, I like taking the layup positional advantage. In best ball, there's more of a debate with leveraging the ping-ponging TD weeks from late-round TE options. ... Kelce will be backed up by Noah Gray, who is the inline option in 2-TE sets. He had a solid 1.0 YPRR sitting behind Kelce. He's a very sneaky Round 18 selection with Isaiah Likely contingent value if Kelce ever missed time (1 missed game since 2014 and it was from COVID).

These are per-game stats from Week 10 through the Super Bowl, when Mecole Hardman left the offense with an injury. JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves behind a near full-time role, one that requires running real routes on the perimeter and led to a WR38 finish in fantasy points over expected per game. ... The other one of those real WR spots belonged to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was the primary deep threat (15.2 aDOT) and a 2-WR set starter. MVS has a $11M cap hit this year with another $2M guaranteed next year (that's quite a lot) and offers a size/speed skillset that the rest of this WR group lacks. Last year was unlucky in the TD department (2 TDs on 3.7 expected scores), leading to a forgettable WR77 finish in fantasy points over expected per game. He's not a redraft target, but there's a chance the "better in best ball" truthers run hot with TD and deep threat variance this year. ... Justin Watson was 3rd in line with routes during this stretch, but he was out there to block in certain looks and run clear out routes way downfield. Hopefully his snaps go elsewhere because his career 1.0 YPRR is boring. His special teams experience and contract ($1.8M guaranteed) make him a near lock for an active roster spot, however. ... A candidate for Watson's 24 routes per game is 2nd-round rookie Rashee Rice, who has some JuJu qualities (6'0/204 with a 4.5 forty). He moved from the slot to the outside, maxing out at 3.0 YPRR as a senior at Houston. In camp, Mahomes has complimented his feel for zone. There's nothing high-ceiling about his profile, but the Chiefs can use a boring yet reliable option right now.

Then there's the slot/manufactured touch candidates. ... Kadarius Toney has the most upside. He's eclipsed a studly 2.1 yards per route run in each of his two seasons but hasn't played enough snaps to matter because of playbook and injury concerns. At least he's practicing right now. Once on the field, Toney is a manufactured-touch stud with the ideal playcaller for him. He's an absolute problem in space with unreal athletic movements, but those per-route stats are unlikely to translate into a full-time role because he has issues out wide. Think Mecole Hardman, who averaged 58 grabs and 553 total yards per year. His size has limited him against man coverage, and he didn't have a great feel for Mahomes in zone either. To break out, those issues need to be solved. In spurts as a Giants' rookie, I've seen him do it. Hopefully we see evidence of a real receiver role in camp and the preseason. ... Skyy Moore barely played as a rookie, and when he did, it was 50% in the slot with a 5.6 average depth of target. Many of his targets where manufactured, and he doesn't have the same athleticism as others in that role. Without the screens, Moore had a -0.1 EPA per target and 45% success rate on a 1.1 yards per route run. The main hope with Moore is that he at least won on the perimeter in college. ... Richie James (5'9/185) is on a $1M contract and could be the returner in place of Moore. He had his best season last year when he pivoted to an 82% slot rate. He averaged 1.6 yards per route run, leading to a quiet but notable WR61 per game season with the Giants. He's legitimately in the slot competition.

The Chiefs were 13th in RB fantasy usage last year, splitting the work with semi-defined roles. Clyde Edwards-Helaire opened as the starter but was benched before missing the rest of the year (ankle). He at least averaged 3.1 yards after contact per carry (good) and is healthy now. Even if he opens as the No. 3 RB as he was pre-injury, the 24-year-old CEH has dual contingent upside as Isiah Pacheco's goal line insurance and Jerick McKinnon's passing down insurance. ... From Week 10 through the Super Bowl, Pacheco took over as the early down grinder for the Chiefs, averaging 77 rushing yards per game. He's a flashy, ball of energy with plus athleticism. He surprises second-level defenders with burst (+0.8 yards over expected) and he's big enough to bang between the tackles (1.2 inside the 10-yard line carries per game). With the Chiefs' creating so much space in the box, burst and pure will is all that's needed to be successful. Now, Pacheco is far from a complete player. While he runs hard, he only forced 0.12 missed tackles per carry, which was one of the very worst in the class. He doesn't have much wiggle, nor contact balance because he has too crazy of feet. More importantly, his tempo is rushed. Pacheco wasn't trusted in passing situations either, only seeing 1.3 pass block reps per game and 1.0 catches per game. None of his catches came on third downs or inside the 10-yard line either. Pacheco is best as a change-of-pace early-down rusher. He's also already 24 years old. ... Jerick McKinnon is 31 years old and playing on a $1M guaranteed contract. He doesn't run the ball often, nor well (2.1 yards after contact per carry), leaving him in a checkdown-only role. He ran hot with 10 TDs on 8.7 expected scores because of goal line trickery that feels unstable. Even with them, McKinnon was just the RB37 per game last year on his career-worst PFF grade.

2023 Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy ADPs

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  • TE1 Travis Kelce (6.4 overall) --> Mixing in

  • QB1 Patrick Mahomes (21.2) --> Buying

  • WR38 Kadarius Toney (72.3) --> Mixing in

  • RB25 Isiah Pacheco (82.0) --> Soft fading

  • WR55 Skyy Moore (119.1) --> Only in stacks

  • RB43 Jerick McKinnon (128.0) --> Fading

  • WR63 Rashee Rice (137.1) --> Only in stacks

  • WR69 Marquez Valdes-Scantling (156.2) --> Buying

  • RB64 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (208.2) --> Buying