2021 Fantasy Football Breakout - WR Mecole Hardman
2021 Fantasy Football Breakout – WR Mecole Hardman
I’ve been too high on Hardman since he was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft as a potential Tyreek Hill replacement when Hill found himself facing child abuse allegations. For two years I drafted him everywhere and I begged everyone to also draft him. I might have been two years to early and now it his time. He has firmly moved up to #3 on the depth chart of pass catchers behind TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill.
There are lots of reasons to like Hardman coming into his 3rd year in this system. The easy one, is this is a team that will throw the ball, a ton. Someone has to catch the ball when Hill and Kelce are covered. Hardman finished last year already ahead of Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson on the depth chart. He has built a chemistry and trust with Mahomes. Oh and WRs have tendency to have that 3rd year breakout. Terrell Owens, Steve Smith Jr. and Chad Johnson were all 3rd year breakout WRs.
Coming out of Georgia at 5’10” and a 4.33 forty, Hardman was known for his speed and ability to catch the ball in stride. With the departure of Sammy Watkins, that opens up 55 vacated targets. Those 55 vacated targets was over 14 games, that projects out to a possible 67 vacated targets over 17 games. If you just take those vacated targets and divide them in half (Hardman gets 34 and the other 33 get distributed to the other WRs) and add those 34 to the 66 (projected over 17 games) that Hardman had last year, that equals 100 possible targets for Hardman next season. If he maintains his 66% catch rate that comes out to 66 receptions for the season, which based on his previous seasons, could have him around 900 yards and 6 receiving TDs, plus another 40 yards rushing and 3 TDs. This would clearly move him up from finishing as WR61 in PPR scoring last season, to a Top 30 WR this season. With an ADP in rounds 8-10 that could easily be a steal.