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Is Patrick Mahomes a First-Round Fantasy Pick for 2019?

Is Patrick Mahomes a First-Round Fantasy Pick for 2019?
Scott Engel Managing Director December 16, 2018 11:17AM EDT

It’s Not Insanity to Consider taking Patrick Mahomes Early Next Year, says The King

There is no doubt that Patrick Mahomes’ Thursday night performance this week against the Chargers was disappointing. In ESPN standard scoring, he generated 18 points, which was his second-lowest output of the season. The last two weeks haven’t been spectacular, as he generated 20.8 the previous week against Baltimore.

But as we all know, it has been a mostly spectacular 2018 Fantasy season for Mahomes, who has seven games of four TD passes or more, nine of three or more, and only two games in which he has thrown less than two TD passes. He has 10 300-yard games and narrowly missed an 11th at 295. He has less than 20 Fantasy points in a game only twice. Before last night’s game, he had 335.5 Fantasy points, which was 50.1 ahead of Ben Roethlisberger in second place.

So we cannot react negatively to the last two games because the bar has been set so high for Mahomes this year that even 20 points seems like a down outing. That is how high expectations have been set for Mahomes by now. I personally own Mahomes on three teams this year. All won 10 Fantasy games and earned first round byes There is no question Mahomes has been a huge part of that success.

So as we look beyond the Fantasy playoffs and to next year, the question becomes, how badly do I/we want Mahomes on our teams again? Sure, I have been one of many Fantasy analysts who have actively preached that you should wait on QBs in drafts. The position is so deep. But Mahomes at least deserves to be considered  n exception to that rule. He’s so far ahead of the QB competition in Fantasy production, that he is in his own tier at the top of the position. So even if you make quality points against drafting Mahomes early, it’s at least a discussion we should have.

Should we draft Patrick Mahomes in the first round next year?

On the surface, taking any QB in the first round seems crazy and goes against everything we have stressed in recent years as Fantasy analysts. But when you consider the criteria we look for in a first-rounder, we at least have to think about it.

Your first rounder should be the cornerstone of your team. Mahomes is already an axis of many winning and top-level Fantasy squads.

Your first-rounder should be a superstar. No debate there,

Your first-rounder should be an apparently safe choice to produce consistently at very high levels. Mahomes has certainly satisfied that requirement as noted by the numbers above.

You must consider a superstar in the first round if he is clearly on a level above the rest of the position. Mahomes has been on his own Fantasy level this year, we have outlined that as well.

Even if Mahomes regresses a bit from his historic levels for a first-year starter, he’ll still likely be a Top 3 Fantasy passer. There are no concerns about his durability yet. So there doesn’t seem like there should be any concerns about a major drop-off next year. The incredible talent is evident. Mahomes’s nickname could be Russell Roethlisberger. He has the nifty mobility and creativity to make stunning plays like Wilson has done in the past, and he has the rocket arm and downfield aggressive approach that has worked so well for the Pittsburgh QB.

So even if your leaguemates disagree with such a pick next summer, you are getting just about everything you want in a top pick with Mahomes when you look at the initial qualifiers. But the depth of the position does keep him out of consideration for the earliest picks for sure.

So if we were forecasting a PPR draft now for next year, the elite RBs will go first, as there aren’t enough of them to round out a Top 12. In no certain order, Todd Gurley, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Melvin Gordon, James Conner and Alvin Kamara would have to be eight of the prime first rounders for sure. We could debate whether other guys belong in that group, such as Phillip Lindsay and Joe Mixon, but there are only eight unquestioned  surefire guys that Mahomes cannot be considered over. If you think there are more than that such a view is very valid, but I am only listing no-doubters over Mahomes.

Then you must consider superstar WRs such as Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Adam Thielen, plus Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. If you definitely want to take all of those guys over Mahomes, that pushes the QB to the second round. You must also consider Travis Kelce, who satisfies a lot of the same criteria as Mahomes. TE is obviously way thinner at QB.

So working it out on the fly, it’s hard to make an argument for Mahomes being in the Top 12. But if you grab any of those prime RBs or WRs  in the first round, and you get to about the 17th pick or so, why not consider Mahomes then? Pairing him with Hill is very appealing if you like QB/WR connections, and partnering him with any top RB1 or WR1 you grab initially pushes you to a very strong start in your draft. Ask yourself would you rather have Kamara and Mahomes, or Kamara or Leonard Fournette? Would you rather have Hopkins and Mahomes, or Hopkins and Robert Woods? Those are all legitimate debates to have, especially later in the second round.

What I would not recommend, although it seems appealing, is to take both Mahomes and Kelce early. By taking both a QB and TE early, you will severely damage the outlooks of your RB and WR positions.

So the answer to the question above is, while Mahomes does fit the ideals of a first-rounder, he cannot be taken over the very best elite RBs and WRs. But mid-to-late second round, it’s not crazy at all.

And like me, all of you Mahomes owners have been so entertained by watching him, that you want to own him again. When your Fantasy QB is that good, it makes him so much more fun to watch. Heck, it has honestly crossed my mind to take him early and go against everything I outline about the position just for the sheer joy of owning him again and wanting to watch every Chiefs game with a high level of anticipation. If I am at pick 20 or so next year, he’s going to be one of the guys in my queue. And if someone passes on a superstar RB or WR to take Mahomes late in the first round next year, I won’t laugh at them.

You may disagree with this concept of taking Mahomes early and I respect that. But don’t tell me it’s not a fun and interesting debate. It’s an argument you may even win, but Mahomes has made the conversation appear. Send me your tweets like the one below and I’ll publish them soon. This one came in response to when we discussed the Mahomes topic on the RotoExperts show embedded above.

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