The fantasy football question on everyone’s mind is going to be who is Patrick Mahomes going to make into a fantasy football league winner in 2023. Last year, hordes of fantasy drafters were trying to figure out who was going to replace Tyreek Hill. This year, I’m wondering if Mahomes even needs anyone but Mahomes to be fantastic. So let’s dig in on how this draft class will impact Kansas City for the 2023 fantasy football season.
FULL KANSAS CITY DRAFT RESULTS
|1||31||Felix Anudike-Uzomah||EDGE||Kansas State|
|4||17||Chamarri Conner||CB||Virginia Tech|
|5||31||BJ Thompson||EDGE||Stephen F.Austin State|
|7||33||Nic Jones||CB||Ball State|
Round 2, Pick 55 Overall: Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver, SMU (6’1” 204 lbs)
WR1: Kadarius Toney
WR2: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR3: Skyy Moore
WR4: Rashee Rice
When I saw this pick and started watching his college tape, I wondered why the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Rashee Rice. He is quick for his size and has good feet. The one thing I noticed about his game is there were only three routes he ran that I thought he excelled at – comebacks, hooks, and wide receiver screens. Rice has a very quick stop-start move to come back to the ball on comeback and hook routes. While he is not very sudden off the line of scrimmage, he explodes out of his breaks on any curl route. It is worth noting that 31.3% of Juju Smith-Schuster’s routes were one of those three routes.
Outside of that, I found myself wanting more out of Rice’s game. Rice has good enough hands, but he never seemed to make tough catches. For as athletic as he is, Rice never seemed to play noticeably faster than the competition around out. One thing I absolutely loved about him is once the ball was in his hands, Rice ran tough. A lot of big guys I’ve watched aren’t physical. Not so with Rice. When he blocks, he comes at you. Don’t try to arm tackle Rashee Rice if you still want arms.
When it comes to opportunity on the Kansas City Chiefs, you might as well roll a six-sided die and guess who will be relevant. Last year, Juju Smith-Schuster had 101 targets, 78 catches, 933 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the next best wide receiver on the Chiefs, had had 81 targets, 42 catches, 687 yards, and 2 touchdowns. These are very pedestrian numbers for players on the best offense in football.
That is because Travis Kelce exists, and last year he made up 24.7% of the team’s target share and accounted for 25.3% of the team’s receptions. Moreover, the wide receiver group as a whole only accounted for 28.3% of the team’s touchdowns, with no player scoring more than 6 touchdowns.
The Chiefs lost Juju Smith Schuster and Mecole Hardman to free agency and replaced them Richie James and 2nd round draft pick Rashee Rice. The team invested a 2nd round pick on Skyy Moore last year, so he could take a leap. Moore will almost certainly be given the first crack at a starting job while they wait for Rashee Rice to develop.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Rashee Rice is definitely an interesting fit in Kansas City. His RAS of 9.53 indicates Rice has the athleticism to excel in the NFL, but that didn’t always reflect on his tape. On most teams, I would say that the 2nd round draft capital the Kansas City Chiefs spent on him means Rice should see more opportunities to play on the field. The problem is the same thing could be said about Skyy Moore last year, who was overdrafted in all fantasy football leagues because man do we love our shiny, new toys when Patrick Mahomes is throwing the ball at them. Skyy Moore was 5th amongst Chiefs wide receivers in snaps and routes run. Rashee Rice could end up blowing up this year, but it seems much more likely that Kelce continues to dominate the workload and Rashee Rice’s draft capital is not worth the risk.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
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