32 for 32 : What Can We Expect from Patrick Mahomes in 2018?

Editor’s Note: This is a part of our 32 for 32 QB Profiles series.

After five seasons with Alex Smith under center, the Kansas City Chiefs go into the 2018 season with a new man at the helm. Patrick Mahomes is not a rookie, having been drafted in 2017, but his second season in the NFL will be a completely different experience to his rookie campaign, in which he saw limited action. So what can people expect from Mahomes in this, his second rookie year?

The Old Guy

It has been fun for some people over the years to poke fun at Alex Smith. No one at this website, I hasten to add, but the 2005 first overall pick has had his share of critics over the years. Many of these people would be happy to ignore Smith’s deeds with the Chiefs.

CategoryPass AttemptsPassing YardsPassing TouchdownsPPR Points

He saved his best until last in his Chiefs career. In 2017, Smith set career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns, with 4,042 and 26, respectively. He also finished the season with 334.4 fantasy points. Smith was no doubt aware that after the Chiefs drafted Mahomes, his time as the starter would be coming to an end. He certainly enjoyed himself in his remaining time, and left a pretty solid legacy for the youngster to live up to.

The New Guy

Mahomes was the starting quarterback for Texas Tech for two seasons, between 2015 and 2016. He didn’t do too much to impress during this time. I mean, he only averaged 4,852 yards and 38 passing touchdowns a season. Nothing too special, is it? One of the areas that Chiefs fans, and Smith enthusiasts, will be aware of was #11’s rushing prowess. Mahomes was no slouch in this area in college either. He rushed 131 times in each season but owned career yards per attempt mark of just 2.7. Oh, but he did score 23 touchdowns on the ground.

A Brief Glimpse

With Smith in such a rich vein of form in 2017, Mahomes was not able to immediately unseat the veteran. Instead, he spent the majority of his first season holding the clipboard on the sidelines. He had to wait until the season finale in Week 17 before he saw the field, as the Chiefs took on the Denver Broncos. The Broncos did have a miserable 2017 campaign, it is true. But their defense was still a strength, often left exposed by the offense’s inability to prevent turning the ball over. The Broncos allowed the third-fewest yards on defense, and the fourth-fewest through the air. Yet, without Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Mahomes was able to amass 284 yards at 8.1 yards per attempt against them.

Looking Ahead

In addition to Hill and Kelce, Mahomes will also Sammy Watkins to throw to in 2018. While many may view Watkins, already on his third NFL team, as something of a disappointment, he has averaged 15.3 yards per reception in the last two seasons. Of his 67 receptions in that time, 10 have found the end zone. There is also the presence of Kareem Hunt, who is far from being a mug as a pass-catcher. Mahomes will have some serious weaponry to utilize in 2018, and he’s probably going to need it.

The Chiefs defense ranked 23rd, according to numberFire, and 28th in yards allowed last season. They haven’t exactly gone out of their way to improve this unit. They traded stud cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, for one. Despite spending five of their six draft picks on defensive players, this is far from a solid looking unit. This should mean plenty of high-scoring games, increasing the opportunities for Mahomes to make plays. Also, the Chiefs were above the league average (59% to 57.4%) with regards to throwing the ball in neutral game situations (whenever the score was within seven points) last season. Andy Reid is a head coach who, as Philadelphia Eagles and Chiefs fans can attest, can be encouraged to lean heavily on the pass at times. This should mean even more opportunities for Mahomes to throw the ball in 2018.


Mahomes is certainly an exciting prospect, leading an offense with no shortage of playmakers. His head coach is one not averse to letting his quarterback take over a game. This means plenty of pass attempts. This, plus other factors, make Mahomes a player who could be well worth his 2QB redraft ADP (70.1 overall — QB12). While he’ll almost certainly throw more interceptions than Chiefs fans are used to seeing from their quarterback, he should also take more chances deep. This is something that, 2017 apart, Alex Smith was usually reluctant to do. The Chiefs may not be a dominant team in 2018, but they should be fun to watch.

Neil Dutton

Neil Dutton has played fantasy football since 2005, when a dialup modem error led to him drafting Donovan McNabb and Chad Pennington back to back at the 3/4 turn. He began writing in 2013 for the now defunct UKEndzone.com. Since then he has written for Gridiron Experts, Fantasy Pros, RotoViz, numberFire, Player Profiler, and TwoQBs. He co-hosts the “Waxing Lyrical with Mainz and Dutts” podcast.

Neil resides near Liverpool in England. He lives with his fiancé and their two daughters, as well as a guinea pig named Piggle.

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