In terms of individual accomplishments, arguably no quarterback has put together a finer first five seasons in the NFL than Patrick Mahomes. Still only 26, Mahomes has a league MVP, a Super Bowl win, and nearly 11 literal miles of passing under his belt. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have reached the conference championship or more in each of his four years as the starter.
But while Mahomes can rewrite the record books, he’ll have to work under more trying circumstances than in the past. The AFC West has transformed into an arms race, with every other team in the division adding superstar talent this offseason. Meanwhile, the Chiefs traded away Mahomes’ most dangerous weapon back in March, sending wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for draft picks. Mahomes has the tools to overcome Hill’s absence, but Kansas City’s offense might need some time to adjust.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Passing: 436 completions on 658 attempts (66.3 completion) for 4,828 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions
Rushing: 66 attempts for 381 yards and two touchdowns
Fantasy: Fourth among QBs in total scoring (fifth in per-game scoring)
Chiefs’ offseason moves
A year after remodeling their offensive line, the Chiefs have taken a sledgehammer to their receiving corps. The front office traded All-Pro wideout Tyreek Hill after failing to come to terms on an extension, replacing him with veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as well as second-round pick Skyy Moore. Ronald Jones, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adds depth to a backfield that will again feature Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon.
2022 best-case scenario
The NFL has already seen the best-case scenario for Mahomes. The former MVP lights up the scoreboard with unbelievable throw after unbelievable throw while causing opposing defensive coordinators to lose whatever remains of their sanity. He has lead the league in fantasy scoring before and could well do so again, even with a reworked supporting cast and a difficult divisional slate.
2022 worst-case scenario
Even if the Chiefs still have plenty of speed in the receiving corps, wheels alone didn’t make Hill one of the top wideouts in the game. If the offense struggles to adjust to his absence, Mahomes could see his fantasy production drop outside the top five at his position, something that hasn’t happened since his injury-shortened 2019 campaign.
Even without Hill, the Chiefs still have a stellar supporting cast for Mahomes as well as arguably the game’s premier offensive play designer in head coach Andy Reid. Their presence should significantly mitigate the loss of Hill, leaving the offense in a fairly strong position. Mahomes might not lead the NFL in fantasy scoring in 2022, but he shouldn’t trail by too much, health permitting.