The Chiefs have been among the best teams in the NFL since Andy Reid took over as the head coach in 2013. Kansas City is 43-21 over that span with four winning seasons and three trips to the playoffs.
Although the Chiefs haven't advanced past the Divisional Round, it's been a successful run for the team. It just hasn't been great for Fantasy owners.
For the most part, we've had the benefit of Jamaal Charles as a Fantasy stud. Travis Kelce has emerged as a standout tight end, and we had one good season from Jeremy Maclin and another good year from Tyreek Hill.
But that's really been the extent of the main Fantasy production in Kansas City under Reid, including quarterback Alex Smith. He's been fine for the team but does little for Fantasy owners in the majority of leagues.
This year, the Chiefs may actually have several Fantasy-relevant players, even though Charles (Denver) and Maclin (Baltimore) are gone. At running back, third-round rookie Kareem Hunt from Toledo will battle Spencer Ware for the starting job. Ware was serviceable as Charles' replacement last year, but Hunt is a sleeper to target in all formats.
Kelce just finished as the No. 1 Fantasy tight end in 2016, and he should be considered among the best players at his position this year. And Hill, if he isn't overdrafted, could emerge as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver if he builds off last season's quality rookie campaign.
As for Smith, well, he isn't going to get a lot of attention in the majority of Fantasy leagues, and he might have to fight for his job now after Kansas City traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes in the first round at No. 10 overall from Texas Tech. Barring injury, Smith should remain the starter, but he's only worth consideration for Fantasy owners as a bye-week or injury replacement in deeper formats. Smith has passed for fewer than 3,600 yards and has 20 touchdowns or less in three years in a row.
He could improve if Kelce and Hill play like they did in 2016 and someone emerges from the group of Chris Conley, Albert Wilson or Demarcus Robinson to help replace Maclin. But that's more of a Fantasy than a reality given how Smith plays, and Fantasy owners have more interest in the Chiefs DST and kicker Cairo Santos this season.
Speaking of the Chiefs DST, they should be considered the No. 1 Fantasy unit coming into this year. The Chiefs DST was the No. 1 Fantasy option in 2016 and has finished in the top spot twice (2013) since Reid took over.
While Reid is known for his offensive prowess as a coach, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton deserves plenty of credit for Kansas City's success over the past four seasons. And the Chiefs have plenty of standout players on that side of the ball with Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson, among others.
Fantasy owners in IDP leagues have benefitted from many starting options from the Chiefs for years. And now, finally, the offensive players might be starting to catch up.
Sleeper: Kareem Hunt
Ware did a nice job stepping in for Charles last year, and he was the No. 16 Fantasy running back in standard leagues with 214 carries for 921 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns and 33 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. Reid said in an interview with CBS Sports this offseason that "I'm a big Spencer Ware fan," and "there's a place for Spencer," so we don't see him going away any time soon. He'll likely share touches with Hunt, but Hunt could easily be the No. 1 running back in Kansas City sooner rather than later. He just had 262 carries for 1,475 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns in 2016 at Toledo and 41 catches for 403 yards and one touchdown. And he finished his college career with 782 carries for 4,945 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and 44 touchdowns and 73 catches for 555 yards and one touchdown. We'll have to keep an eye on what happens with Hunt and Ware during training camp, but you should plan on drafting Hunt with a mid-round pick in all leagues. If he hits, Hunt could become the next, great Fantasy running back for Reid, which includes Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy and Charles.
Bust: Tyreek Hill
Hill was great as a rookie in 2016, especially in Fantasy leagues where you get points for return yards. He had 61 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns on 83 targets and 24 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 384 kickoff return yards and one touchdown and 592 punt return yards and two touchdowns, so he scored 12 touchdowns in all. Hill finished as the No. 20 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues, and now he has a tremendous opportunity as the No. 1 receiver for the Chiefs with Maclin gone. It's all exciting, but Fantasy owners just need to keep things in perspective. While Hill's catches and receiving yards should increase, it might be hard for him to repeat his nine offensive touchdowns. He also might not be as productive as a rusher with Hunt joining Ware in the backfield, and Reid might not want to overwork Hill now that his role is expanded in the passing game. There are other factors to consider as well, including that Smith is still Kansas City's quarterback, which isn't exactly a positive for Hill. And Hill will play second fiddle to Kelce. He's worth drafting in Round 5 or 6 as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver, but it's a mistake for owners to reach for him before that.
Proven stud: Travis Kelce
Last year in this space, we had Kelce listed under the heading of "we're still hopeful." He was overhyped heading into the 2015 season, and he disappointed us with 72 catches for 875 yards and five touchdowns on 101 targets, which made him the No. 7 Fantasy tight end in standard leagues. The problem was we were expecting more, which he delivered last year. He finally had the breakout season we were hoping for in 2016 when he finished as the No. 1 Fantasy tight end in standard leagues with 85 catches for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns on 117 targets. So what changed for Kelce to make him great? It wasn't a dramatic increase in targets, and he actually had fewer touchdowns last year compared to 2015. Kelce said in an interview with CBS Sports at the Pro Bowl that he's just getting to the point where he's comfortable with everything on the field. "I know exactly how to get better," Kelce said. "You have to keep working harder and sharpen the tools." Kelce will be drafted in all leagues after Rob Gronkowski as the No. 2 tight end, and he benefits with Maclin gone. During the four games Maclin missed in 2016 with a groin injury, Kelce had 26 catches for 380 yards on 38 targets. It's clear Smith is going to lean on him even more this year, and that's great for his Fantasy outlook. He should be drafted as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues.