Goodbye Sammy Watkins, hello Mecole Hardman. Even though Hardman out-targeted Watkins last season (62 to 55), he didn’t play nearly as much. Hardman didn’t top 70% of offensive snaps played in any game last year, but Watkins reached that mark in every game (aside from two when he left early due to injury). Watkins leaving frees up a big role for Hardman who should be on the field a lot more in 2021. Hardman’s speed is nearly as elite as Tyreek Hill’s, which obviously pairs nicely with Patrick Mahomes’ arm.
While we’re expecting Hardman to step into a bigger role, there’s a chance he isn’t used as much as we think. The Chiefs may keep Hardman in a similar role as last year while utilizing Demarcus Robinson or Byron Pringle in Watkins’ old role. And even if Hardman does step up, we haven’t seen much production from players in this Chiefs offense aside from Hill and Travis Kelce.
2021 Bottom Line
Hardman is a late-round flier candidate in fantasy drafts this year. If he’s able to play more snaps, and get more targets, he could end up being a valuable asset, especially with his game-breaking speed. But he’s also someone who hasn’t reached 600 receiving yards in his two seasons, so he’s not someone you want to take too early. We have him ranked around WR50, and we’re projecting around 800 yards for him this year.