Most Underrated Player: Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs 2020 MUPOT
By: Connor Smith
As you have seen on the website we are all writing about a certain team’s MUPOT or Most Underrated Player On Team. This week I have the Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl champions are going into the 2020 season better and more talented than they were last year. They’re going to have the same amazing passing game but with the draft pick of Clyde Edwards-Helaire they may actually have a running game in 2020. With the speedy receiving core and the new running back and can just see Andy Reid smiling while he creates plays to get them all involved.
I am tempted to go with Clyde Edwards-Helaire so bad. That being said, I just don’t think he is being underrated. Going as the 14th RB taken according to fantasypros.com puts him right where I think he should be. He could definitely be a top 10 running back but as a rookie he shouldn’t be taken in the top 10 unless you really, really believe in him. Obviously neither Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce are not underrated. Looking for an underrated guy in this offense really is tough but I think I found him. The Chiefs 2020 MUPOT is Mecole Hardman.
Mecole is well-known from last year. A 5’10” 22 year old wide receiver with blazing speed. With 26 receptions on 41 targets for 538 yards and 6 touchdowns last year his averages looked like this. 1.63-2.6, 33.6 yards, .38 TD’s per game. His ADP is 42 according to Fantasypros.com. The 42nd receiver in the NFL last year was Jamison Crowder. His stats looked like this: 78-122, 833, 6 TD. Averaging out to 4.88-7.63, 52.06, .38 TD’s. I think Mecole has the ability to be a top 30 receiver. That’s something you rarely find with the 42nd receiver picked. He’s not going to have as many receptions as Crowder had but rather he will have more yards per reception. From Mike Tagliere of Fantasypros.com “Did you know that among wide receivers who've seen at least 30 targets, Mecole Hardman's 13.1 yards per target ranks as the third-highest mark among wide receivers over the last 10 years? His 2.77 PPR points per target ranked as the fourth-best mark in that time. He's good, we know that, but will he get the targets necessary to start him confidently? He's one of those players who can certainly take the leap into the top-30 receivers if he gets the opportunity, which is rare to find in the late rounds.” If he gets somewhere around 100 targets he would be around 277 points for the season from those averages. That would have put him at 2nd by 1 point over Chris Goodwin in 2019. Obviously that won’t happen next year. That being said, with more targets and receptions most likely coming his way, he should easily be a top 30 receiver in the NFL.
As I have mentioned before, Mecole is the 42nd receiver off the board according to fantasypros.com. That puts him 5 spots behind Julian Edelman. If TB12 was still in New England then this wouldn’t have caught my eye as a problem. That being said, TB12 is in TB not NE. I don’t think that Jarrett Stidham will be bad, I actually think he will be relatively good. However, with Edelman’s injury history and the fact that it’s a whole new QB, he shouldn’t be taken in front of a talented young receiver who is in the NFL’s best or second best offense, an offense that by the way got better after winning a Super Bowl.
While I don’t see Mecole getting 100 catches, I do see him at least breaking 40-50 with somewhere around 80 targets. Factoring in his 2.77 ppr points per target, that would put him at 221.6 ppr points or the 20th best receiver in 2019. In all honesty I don’t see that 2.77 ppr per target number staying that high. I do however see it staying above 2 and being as high as 2.3. Even at 2.3 with 80 targets he would bring you 184 points this season, putting him as the 34th in 2019. He has the ability and the offense to break into the top 30. The thing that will decide that is his inclusion in the Chiefs passing game consistently. If he is consistently in the passing game plan and is the WR2 behind Tyreek Hill he should hit those numbers. It just so happens that a few weeks ago his special teams coach said he “doesn’t know how often Hardman will be returning kicks and punts.” He also said “Hardman has just scratched the surface as a returner but he will inevitably be more involved in the offense.” I mean he has the best quarterback in the NFL throwing to him and in 2019 he averaged a touchdown every 4.3 receptions. Just think what he could do with more targets!!!
The Chiefs are going to be good, like really, really good again. They improved well through the draft. They will have a running game next year as well as a better defense. With Tyreek healthy all season, defenses will have to stop a good run game, a top 5 receiver, and the best tight end in the NFL. That should leave Hardman matched with corners who are just too slow and honestly not good enough to cover him. He’s not going to have many throws his way missed by the best QB in the NFL and with Andy Reid involving him more it should be fun to watch as a fantasy owner. If Mecole is still on the board with only 35 receivers off the board, this is where I would start to look at him. He is well set up to become a top 30 receiver in the near future and this could be the season.