This series is designed to target players with great potential before they “break out.”
Wide receiver Mecole Hardman was a highly touted fantasy pick after being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs to join their potent offense. His dynasty rookie draft ADP was a mid-second, when people wanted to cash in on a Tyreek Hill replacement should the worst happen due to a looming suspension. That situation did not materialize, as Hill came back after a four-game absence and remained the player we were used to seeing, finishing as the WR10 in points per game.
This may have left somewhat of an underwhelming feeling with Hardman dynasty managers expecting more production from their player. Despite his limited playing time and sharing the field with Hill and Sammy Watkins, he managed to score six touchdowns. This was second on the team, only to Hill’s seven. Contributing to this is Hardman's blazing fast speed whenever he gets the ball. His 4.33 40-yard dash is 99th percentile, and these jets transition to the field, where he can turn any catch into a potential score. Patrick Mahomes must be aware of this, as Hardman delivered the best quarterback rating of any receiver when targeted last year per playerprofiler. When Hardman got the ball, he delivered. With Mahomes’s new deal keeping him in town for the next ten years, Hardman can continue to develop a rapport with arguably the best quarterback in the league. Now add in another year of comfort with the system and a full year of NFL coaching, Hardman can easily build off of last year and grow to another Level.
It appears people are not on board with this logic already, as his current price is a meager ADP of 128, the WR49 as of July 28 on Fantasypros. This is behind guys like the ancient Emmanuel Sanders and perennially mediocre Jamison Crowder. Neither of those two provides near the ceiling of a player like Hardman. With your later picks, you should be trying for game-changers and not worrying about floor plays. The one year nine million dollar deal Sammy Watkins received this offseason could be affecting Hardman’s ADP. Hardman was much more efficient than his counterpart, however. Hardman was only 135 yards off Watkins total at the end of the season, despite having less than half as many targets (41 targets to Watkins 90). The move may be more about keeping continuity within your system after winning a Super Bowl and facing the difficulties of COVID’s impact.
Lastly - and most importantly - Mecole Hardman was the league leader in yards per reception, yards per target, and third-best in target separation last year. This is a man destined for a massive upgrade in output this year and could turn your team into a league winner. Grab him now before he “Levels Up.”