Fantasy Opportunity Primer: Kansas City Chiefs

by Alex Levin

With the draft complete and the bulk of the free agency rush over with, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2020 season! And with that, I’m back with year 2 of my Opportunity series.

For those who didn’t see this series last year, I try to take a different approach to fantasy projections than your run-of-the-mill rankings. The basis of my process is that the number one indicator of fantasy success is opportunities to touch the ball. Obviously individual player skill can (and will) affect that, but at the end of the day players are at the mercy of play calling and play design. Therefore, if we want to make accurate projections, we need to look at each coach’s scheme and how they like to spread the ball around.

As a result, this series is very coach-centric. I’ll touch on individual players, but only as they relate to their coaches’ schemes. On a related note, this series will only aim to establish projections on how touches will be split up, not what individual players will be able to accomplish with those touches. That will come later once depth charts settle through training camp. Think of this series more as a basis for realistic expectations.

Make sense? Good. Let’s dive in.

Most of my stats are pulled from Pro Football Reference. Please support them. They are awesome and are my primary source of statistical information.

Kansas City Chiefs

Last Year’s Accuracy

For league wide stats, see this spreadsheet.

Coaching Changes

In 21 years of head coaching experience, Andy Reid has posted a losing record just 3 times. He’s missed the playoffs only 6 times. Yet here we are with him finally winning his first Super Bowl title as a head coach. Long overdue and well deserved. Going into 2020, he gets a rare bonus for Super Bowl winning head coaches as he keeps both offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on staff. In fact, almost the entire coaching staff is sticking around for 2020.

Coaching History

Reid has a long and storied history, but the only history we’re concerned with is the last two years with superstar QB Patrick Mahomes at the wheel. The last two years in Kansas City were almost identical from a balance perspective; just under 1000 plays run, just over 61% pass rate, 4.2 % sack rate, 3.2% throwaways, etc. Only two things changed to any notable degree between 2018 and 2019. First is that 3% of the team target shares transferred from the tight ends to the running backs. Second was a rash of injuries at the wide receiver and running back positions that helped lead to their respective catch rates dropping by about 3% each (although let’s be honest; how sustainable was the running backs’ absurd 84.5% catch rate in 2018?).

Looking Ahead

Quite frankly, there’s little reason to believe any major change is coming in 2020. On top of managing to keep most of his coaches, Reid finds himself basically fielding the same offense. Heck, they didn’t even shake things up much on the offensive side of the ball through the draft as their only offensive skill position pick was a new running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire adds even more pass-catching talent out of an already loaded backfield so it’s unlikely the running backs will cede any of their target share gains from 2018 to 2019. The only other thing potentially worth looking into at all is the injuries sustained by several starters, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference in the way Reid operated his offense anyway.

I know, this one is short, but there really isn’t much else to talk about. The Chiefs found something that works. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

2020 Projections

Alex Levin

Ride or Dynasty
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