The Kansas City Chiefs finished 2018 at the top of many offensive categories. Led by their MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs led the league with 425.6 yards per game. They scored 35.3 points per game while averaging 6.8 yards per play. With offensive production like they had last season, the Chiefs were able to put up big numbers on the field and in the fantasy football world.
Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce finished first in fantasy points for their position. Heading into 2019, all three players will be early-round draft picks in fantasy. The league has not made a decision regarding Hill’s suspension, but if he does not miss any time, he will be one of the first receivers drafted. The missing position on the list for the Chiefs is running back.
Kareem Hunt finished as the third fantasy running back in 2017. He led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards and scored eight touchdowns. With Hunt in Cleveland, other players will have to step up. Will it be enough to make them reliable fantasy options?
Williams might be in the perfect situation. Andy Reid is known for using his running backs and breeding fantasy studs. For Williams, he just needs a chance. He is a running back with a big upside. During his time in Miami, Williams never carried the ball more than 50 times in a season. In 2018, he appeared in all 16 games for the Chiefs but had just 50 carries for 256 yards. Williams had a breakout game in the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts where he went for 129 yards and a touchdown.
At 27 years old, Williams is approaching the age where running backs begin to decline. There are reasons to be cautious. Williams has never been the lead back on a team. When he received playing time, Williams did not show great ability after contact. He also did not show that he is a strong receiver out of the backfield. So why should any fantasy owners believe in Williams? The system.
Starting running backs under Reid average around 20 touches per game. If Williams comes into the season as the clear RB1, he will be worth the draft pick. This is not to say that Williams is ready to be an RB1 on a fantasy team. If he is the starter in Kansas City, Williams is an obvious RB2 and flex option.
Hyde burst onto the scene in 2016 for the San Francisco 49ers. He finished with 217 carries for 988 yards and six touchdowns. Hyde followed that up with 240 carries for 940 yards in 2017. Hyde has since fallen from graces. The former fantasy RB1 has turned into a questionable draft pick.
ESPN’s Matthew Berry has Hyde ranked as the 49th running back heading into the season. This is just two spots below Williams. Hyde is a touchdown machine. He scored five touchdowns in six games last season with the Browns and has 29 touchdowns in 64 career games. Right now, it is a waiting game to see who the Chiefs will have as their starting back. It is looking like Williams will get the nod so Hyde will fall in drafts.
Heading into your fantasy draft, Hyde should be looked at as a handcuff with Williams. He might come into short-yardage situations and get some carries around the goal line. If Hyde is named the starter, expect big numbers. If not, look at him as a mid-round pick at best.
If the Chiefs decide to keep three running backs, Thompson will be that third. He was drafted in the sixth round of the draft as a low-risk player. Kansas City might have stumbled into a hidden gem. With arguably the best group of skill position players in the league, the Chiefs were able to grab a running back in the late rounds. They will lean on veterans Williams and Hyde, but having a rookie in there can be beneficial.
Thompson is a small running back. At just 5’8, he has drawn comparisons to Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears. It is more than their size that makes the two compatible. Thompson is a running back with excellent hands out of the backfield and the ability to make people miss. He is extremely elusive in the open field. Thompson has the ability to come in right away and make an impact for the Chiefs.
It is unknown if Thompson will get a shot this season. When drafting, do not forget about him near the end rounds. Williams and Hyde are not the most reliable backs and Thompson fits Reid’s system well. By week 15 of the season, Thompson might be a household fantasy name.