Why you should NOT draft Patrick Mahomes in Fantasy Football

Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes proved he is one of the best players in the National Football League. After studying under Alex Smith in his rookie year, Mahomes made his sophomore campaign a special one. He led Kansas City to a 12-4 record and an AFC Championship berth by throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. He only threw 12 interceptions during the regular season and did not cough the ball up in the postseason either. Mahomes was rewarded for his efforts, winning the MVP Award. We just found out that Tyreek Hill will NOT be suspended, meaning Mahomes will have his number one weapon the entire season barring injury.

Built-In Regression

Mahomes’ statistics were absolutely insane in 2018. That said, it would be highly unlikely to repeat the season he just had. Even with all of the key members of the team returning, those kinds of seasons are not repeated. There have been three seasons where a Quarterback has thrown 50+ touchdowns in a season. In fact, there have only been 13 40+ touchdowns seasons in NFL History. The only person who has played at a similar level as Mahomes and repeated it was Drew Brees. In 2011 Brees threw for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns. He followed that up by throwing for 5,177 yards and 43 touchdowns the next season.

Mahomes is still going to be an elite Quarterback in 2019. He could easily finish as the QB1 in Fantasy Football once again in 2019. I just expect Mahomes to come down to earth a little and throw for somewhere in the 35+ touchdown range, not 50. The difference for fantasy football will be that his impact compared to other Quarterbacks won’t be as large. He will score 10 more points than his opposing Quarterback as opposed to 20 like last season.

Roll of the Dice

Patrick Mahomes was a human highlight reel on his way to being named the MVP of the league. Part of the magic was that he would make these superhuman plays that other players just could not make. While these plays were exciting, they were also lucky. Mahomes was compared to Brett Favre heavily throughout the draft process for two reasons. He had a cannon of an arm, one that is actually probably stronger than Favre’s. The other factor was his decision making. Mahomes is a gambler, and he won big in 2018. A lot of his passes were risky, yet they all seemed to workout. Patrick only threw 12 interceptions last year, which was remarkable considering the rest of his stats. Brees threw 33 interceptions during his insane back-to-back 40+ touchdown seasons. He even led the league with 19 interceptions during the second season. Unless Mahomes scales back his aggressive play-style, he should see an uptick in turnovers in 2019.

Football Outsiders does this incredible analysis where they figure out how many interceptions Quarterbacks were responsible for. They take out tipped picks and Hail Mary interceptions, while adding plays where the defender let it slip right through his hands. They determined that Patrick Mahomes should have thrown 21 interceptions last season, tied for first with Sam Darnold. I am not projecting 21 interceptions next season but 15 wouldn’t surprise me.

Draft Capitol

The separation between Mahomes and guys like Watson or Rodgers should be small when it comes to total fantasy points in 2019. He is being drafted in the back of the second which is insane, especially when considering that Watson and Rodgers are going in the fifth round. Mahomes is being drafted based on what he did last year, not what he will do in 2019. He deserves to be the first Quarterback off the board, but in the late-third round at the earliest.

If you would like to see more of my analysis take a look at my positional rankings here.

Also check out our “Making the Case” series, where Scott Edwards makes his argument for why a player should be drafted first overall, starting with Saquon Barkley.

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