by Angel Maldonado Tejada and Alex Kurpeski
Alex’s Pick: TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ADP of undrafted (As of September 4th, 2020)
Though the Seal is no longer the promising young tight end prospect that had managers going ga-ga in 2018, he’s still an elite athlete on an offense that knows how to use a tight end. With virtually every starter from the Chiefs offense coming off of draft boards within the first 10 rounds it’s really tough to find a good choice from a value perspective. While I would advise rostering Seals-Jones in most redraft leagues, he could be an excellent handcuff in the event that one of the Chiefs playmakers suffers an injury or becomes exposed to Covid-19. We’ve seen players like Demetrius Harris thrive in the past as secondary move tight ends for Andy Reid’s wide-open passing attack, so it wouldn’t be very out of character for a guy like Seals-Jones to shine in a similar role.
Angel’s Pick: WR Mecole Hardman, ADP of 9.01 (through September 4th, 2020)
It’s hard to find value in an offense that is as explosive and well known as the Kansas City chiefs. In some cases, their players may be overpriced (looking at you, CEH). That being said, if there’s value to be had in this offense, why not Mecole Hardman?
The forgotten second-year wide receiver was quietly efficient with his limited touches last season, scoring 6 touchdowns on just 41 targets (plus one on a punt return) while also showcasing the explosiveness (20.7 YPPR) that urged the Chiefs to make him a Day 2 pick in 2019. With Tyreek hill wreaking havoc on the other side of the field and Travis Kelce dominating the middle, there is no way for opposing defenses to gameplan for Hardman, especially taking into account Clyde-Edwards Helaire and his passing page abilities. Of course, that may cut into Hardman’s catches, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that his situation will allow him to be efficient with any targets he receives. Sammy Watkins accepted a pay cut this offseason, suggesting the Chiefs and Watkins himself recognize his diminishing skillset and injury history. As a result, don’t be surprised if Hardman takes on a bigger role than initially expected.
Top WRs in fantasy points over expectation in 2019:
🔹 Chris Godwin: +66.2
🔹 A.J. Brown: +65.9
🔹 Michael Thomas: +56.7
🔹 Mecole Hardman: +53.8 pic.twitter.com/Z3y3L9dyyf
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 3, 2020
Lastly, there’s no reason for the Chiefs to not get Mecole Hardman more involved. As I previously alluded to, Hardman’s explosiveness was on full display as he led the league in yards per reception and yards per target. Hardman also finished third in target separation (2.02 yards of separation per target). Last but not least, Patrick Mahomes QB rating when targeting Mecole Hardman was an astronomical 146.6. When Mahomes sees that number he sees a receiver he can rely on for a big play.
It may be confusing to some why Mecole Hardman has a higher ADP than Sammy Watkins, but the tape and stats don’t lie: Hardman is a difference-maker. Whether he sees enough volume to take the next step is to be seen, but at an ADP of 9.01 that risk is well accounted for and he is still a value. Hardman has major potential and is the biggest sleeper for the Chiefs heading into 2020.