The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman with hopes that he could fly under the radar this season and learn from some top-tier wide receivers. That has not been the case with all of the injuries in Kansas City.
Sammy Watkins has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos. With Tyreek Hill returning to action in Week 6, the Chiefs were hoping to have their full arsenal of weapons but they will have to wait at least another week. This opens the door for receivers like Demarcus Robinson and yes, Hardman.
Is the Georgia product worth a start this week?
Mecole Hardman Fantasy: Matchup vs. Denver Broncos
Are the Broncos figuring things out? It was a slow start for the fighting Vic Fangio’s but their defense is starting to play like expected. The Broncos have allowed 13 points in their mini two-game winning streak. This includes a shutout of the Tennessee Titans which forced them to make a quarterback change.
The Chiefs have put together a two-game streak of their own but it is not a positive one. Kansas City has lost two in a row after looking like a perennial powerhouse in the AFC. Defensively, they have been bad but their offense has also been contained.
Kansas City jumped on the Houston Texans early in their previous game. They scored 17 quick points in the first quarter but they were held to just seven over the rest of the game. This came after a 13-point performance on Sunday Night Football in Week 5. Is it injuries? Are the Chiefs being figured out? Whatever it is, with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, these problems will not last long.
Hardman has just 16 catches on the season. He has 291 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 18.2 yards per reception. Hardman has been living on the big play. Both of his scores this season have been long passes from Mahomes. The Georgia product has 27 targets on the season and has no more than six in any game.
Should You Start or Sit Mecole Hardman in Week 7?
Hill is back on the field. Travis Kelce is still one of the biggest weapons in the league. Even though Watkins is out, it is hard to imagine Hardman getting enough targets to warrant a fantasy start. In Hill’s absence, the Chiefs seemed to lean on Robinson more in the passing game.
Hardman has speed but he is not a finished product at receiver. His hands need to improve along with his route running. The Chiefs view him as a similar receiver to Hill and he has the potential to turn into that but he is not there yet.
The Broncos defense is starting to come together in recent weeks. It is always tough knowing who to start on Thursday nights. Hardman should be viewed as the ultimate emergency play. Do not insert him unless absolutely needed. The reason is volume. It is unlikely that Hardman gets enough targets and fantasy owners will be hoping that he breaks off a long score. In Week 7, Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill remain the only must start fantasy players on the Chiefs.