Kansas City Chiefs WR Fantasy Football Preview: Can JuJu Smith-Schuster, Skyy Moore Replace Tyreek Hill?
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: JuJu Smith-Schuster.
One of the most significant acquisitions of the offseason was the trade that sent Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, leaving the question of who will replace Hill as the Chiefs’ WR1 wide open for the taking.
Hill, 28, has posted four 1,000-receiving yard seasons since entering the league as a fifth-round pick in 2016. He was the Chiefs’ top receiver in 2021 and recorded a career-high 111 catches on 159 targets for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tight end Travis Kelce is the most obvious candidate to take over as Patrick Mahomes’ No. 1 option, as he has been in previous years. Kelce’s role was already significant with Hill on the roster, though, which means a non-trivial quantity of targets should be vacated for the new Kansas City wide receiver corps.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were both acquired this offseason during free agency and signed to one- and three-year deals, respectively.
Skyy Moore was the Chiefs’ second-round selection in the 2022 draft, and Mecole Hardman was the Chiefs’ second-round pick in 2019.
It’s hardly a hot take to speculate that Smith-Schuster is the most likely beneficiary of this situation, though I would go so far as to say that the former second-round pick could be a league-winning sleeper.
He is coming off of an injury-riddled season in which he appeared in just five games and caught 28 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown.
At just 25 years old, Smith-Schuster is in a great bounce-back spot thanks to a massive upgrade at quarterback — going from the 2021 version of Ben Roethlisberger to Mahomes — and a clear path to a significant target share.
He is being drafted as the WR33 in half PPR, according to FantasyPros. I believe he will more than return on investment and offers high-end WR2 upside in this high-octane offense.
Next up in average draft position is Valdes-Scantling, 27, and then Hardman, 24. Both have some best-ball appeal at WR52 and WR55, respectively, though I much prefer Moore, 21, at WR56.
The rookie was projected to be a fringe first-round pick, and I think the Chiefs got an absolute steal at No. 54 overall. Moore is highly athletic (4.41-second 40-yard-dash) and has the versatility to line up outside and in the slot.
He caught all three targets for 23 yards in Saturday’s preseason game against the Bears and should handily pass Valdes-Scantling and Hardman on the depth chart.
Based on their individual talent levels and the upside of the Chiefs’ offense, I am all-in on Smith-Schuster at WR33 and Moore at WR56, and I’d happily consider Kelce somewhere in the mid- to late-second round.
I’d consider taking Valdes-Scantling and Hardman as late-round fliers in best-ball formats, but they aren’t priorities in typical season-long leagues based on their touchdown-dependent, boom-or-bust tendencies.