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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Travis Kelce No. 11

Travis Kelce comes in at 11 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Kansas City Chiefs v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

All Travis Kelce did last season was break his own record for receiving yards and catches, which also happened to be a new NFL record in both categories. Kelce’s 1,416 receiving yards bested every player in the league last year, except one, and his 105 receptions were the fifth most of any player. His 11 touchdowns weren’t a record, but still an incredible number for a tight end. That’s going to be a touch act to follow, but if anyone can do it, it’s Kelce.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 11, Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, TE

It’s not often you can take a tight end in the first round of a fantasy draft (albeit with a late pick) and not get laughed at, but nobody will bat an eye if you do that with Kelce. He and QB Patrick Mahomes have an incredible connection that’s the foundation of one of the NFL’s best offenses. When you factor in the extra motivation the Chiefs will have to erase the bad memories of last year’s Super Bowl loss, it’s a good year to bet big on Kelce and the Chiefs.

Competition for touches

Kansas City’s offense is loaded again this year, but that’s not been a problem for Kelce’s production. His 105 catches obviously led the team, and so did his 145 targets, which were 10 more than receiver Tyreek Hill saw. But Kelce’s a playmaker who can catch the ball anywhere on the field in an offense that loves to throw.

Team offensive expectations

The Chiefs averaged nearly 30 points a game last season, the sixth-best total in the NFL. It’s not a stretch to say that’s the floor of what this unit can do. Don’t be surprised if they push that number upwards in 2021.

What’s his upside?

Kelce topped his own record, from 2018, last season, and that was in just 15 games. He might not be able to push his numbers any higher into the stratosphere, but then again, maybe he can.

What’s his downside?

There’s not much downside here. He’s been able to stay healthy or play through minor aches and pains throughout his career so far. Kelce’s such a matchup nightmare, so even a down year from him could still make him the best tight end in the league.

Projection

100 receptions; 1,325 yards; 10 touchdowns