Travis Kelce 2019 Fantasy Football Preview

Travis Kelce
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 20: Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs catches a 12 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Wow, this off-season is flying by, we’re entering July and you know what that means? Its fantasy prep time. In fantasy football, there is no position more controversial than tight end. Do you target one of the big three or do you wait until the later rounds to get your guy? If you want to lock up that position early, then Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is your guy. Kelce has been one of the dominant tight ends in the league over the last five years and this season should be no different. He plays in one of the league’s top offenses with one of the best quarterbacks in the game behind center. All signs point to another monster year for Travis Kelce.

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Travis Kelce 2019 Fantasy Preview

2018 Recap

In his first year playing with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kelce had one of the most impressive seasons by a tight end in recent memory. He finished the season with 103 catches, 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns which totaled out to 294 fantasy points. That number put him ahead of guys like Cam Newton, James Conner and Mike Evans. It’s rare to see a tight end outscore quarterbacks and top skill position players but that’s just how good Kelce is.

What makes Kelce so reliable is his enormous target share in the explosive Chiefs offense. In 2018, Kelce finished seventh in the league in targets with 150, averaging over nine per game. For reference, Eric Ebron finished as the fourth-highest scoring tight end last year and only received 110 targets, that’s a 40-target difference! Kelce is the engine that keeps this offense rolling and should continue to see a large portion of the targets in 2019.

2019 Preview

Looking ahead to 2019, Kelce is in an even better position than he was entering the 2018 season. He has a full year of experience with his new quarterback and it’s looking more and more likely that wide receiver Tyreek Hill will be suspended for at least six games. Last season, Hill received 137 targets, roughly 8.5 targets per game. Going with the assumption that he misses at least the first six weeks, Kelce is in for an even bigger target share than usual which could give him astronomical numbers to start the season.

As great as his 150 targets were, it was his 26 red zone targets that impress the most. Everyone knows that touchdowns are the most valuable stat in fantasy and there is no better place to score than in the red zone. Any player, regardless of position, who is averaging over 1 red zone target a game has immense fantasy value.

Looking at this Chiefs offense, there really isn’t anyone threatening to take targets away from Kelce outside of often-injured wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Between the departures of Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, there are 172 vacated targets to go around in this offense and I expect Kelce to get the lion’s share of those targets.

Average Draft Position

According to FantasyPros, Kelce’s current ADP is 17th overall making him the first tight end off the board. I think that’s a very good spot for someone who will almost certainly finish top-three at his position. What makes Kelce so valuable is that you will be getting top receiver-like numbers from your tight end, virtually guaranteeing that you’ll win your positional battle at tight end every week.

If your league uses PPR scoring (who doesn’t?) and you want to use the zero running back strategy, you should target Kelce to go along with a couple of great wide receivers to start. Going zero running back can work, but I don’t see the value in picking three or four straight receivers. Instead, go and get Kelce early in your draft and you’ll be laughing as he outscores your opponent’s tight end every single week.

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