Patrick Mahomes Can Repeat as Fantasy’s QB1

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr

The 2023 NFL season is fast approaching, meaning fantasy football is almost here.

Ahead of fantasy drafts, it's best to know who you can expect to perform for you and who is better off avoiding.

Here's a look at 2022's top fantasy scorer, Patrick Mahomes, heading into the new season. What should you expect from Mahomes in 2023?

Patrick Mahomes Fantasy Football Projection

Projections via numberFire.

2023 Projection: 4,920 passing yards, 38.6 passing TDs, 10.6 INTs, 307 rushing yards, 3.2 rushing TDs
numberFire Positional Projection: QB3

Patrick Mahomes Fantasy Football Outlook

Gaudy Numbers

Doubt Patrick Mahomes and what happens? He wins the NFL MVP, his second Super Bowl, and leads all fantasy players in points.

The Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback continues to dazzle and do new things each season, with 2022 being his finest yet.

When Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins, it was fair to wonder what Mahomes could do without the All-Pro receiver at his disposal. Mahomes answered any questions loudly and clearly.

Mahomes finished the season with 5,250 passing yards (the most of his career) and 41 touchdowns through the air -- both of which led the league. This pushed him to 416.9 fantasy points, leaving him as the QB1 in a year where we saw a handful of quarterbacks have truly massive fantasy campaigns. Mahomes averaged a superb 24.5 fantasy points per game and set a career-best clip in rushing scores (four), which was a big boost to his fantasy output.

Out of 17 starts, Mahomes finished with 30-plus points five times -- the most by any player last season. He was a big difference-maker on nearly a weekly basis.

Early-Round Quarterbacks

After a long stretch where signal-callers were devalued in one-quarterback leagues, things are shifting as the dual-threat ability of some of the elite fantasy quarterbacks has changed the landscape, pushing more passers up fantasy football draft boards.

The trend got going in 2020, the year after Lamar Jackson's monster season. Starting in 2020, we've seen at least two passers go in the first three rounds of 12-team, half-point per reception (half-PPR) drafts in four straight years, according to average draft position (ADP) data from FantasyPros.

It's risen to another level this season as Mahomes, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts are all coming off the board in the first 23 picks. In FanDuel's best-ball contests, seven quarterbacks are going within the first 44 selections, with Mahomes, Allen and Hurts holding ADPs within the first 20 spots.

For a quarterback to be worth selecting that early, he needs to provide a sizable advantage over the quarterbacks you can get later in the draft. Mahomes did just that in 2022 as the difference between him and the QB7 (Trevor Lawrence) was 7.1 points per game.

Mahomes offers week-winning upside and a meaningful edge over most other players at the position.

Should Mahomes Be the First QB Taken?

While Mahomes was the QB1 in 2022, he's not being taken as the QB1 (Allen is) and is not projecting as the QB1, per numberFire's season-long projections (Allen again).

numberFire has four quarterbacks separated from the pack. Mahomes is part of that foursome, but he's slotted as the QB3, with Allen and Hurts ahead of him and Jackson right behind him. The QB5 (Joe Burrow) has a projection 34 fantasy points shy of Jackson's, so there's a clear top tier at the position, per numberFire's model.

Despite Allen's ADP and projection, I think you can make a strong case for Mahomes as the overall QB1.

Mahomes has been a top-five quarterback four times and the top quarterback twice. The only time he wasn't in the top five was when he missed two games in 2019, and even then, he was the QB7 and was only 18 points off from being a top-five quarterback.

Looking at Mahomes' weapons on the Chiefs this season, Travis Kelce is obviously still the top target. After Kelce, KC will be betting on a lot of young talent to take a big step, but there might be more upside here than people realize -- specifically with Kadarius Toney, who they acquired from the New York Giants halfway through the 2022 season.

A first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Toney has shown flashes of being a dynamic receiver, but he's also had consistency and injury problems that have limited his success on the field. He earned some trust fairly quickly in Kansas City last year, playing 44% of the snaps in just his second game with the team and seeing seven targets in the Chiefs' first postseason affair. If Toney can make a leap in his first full season in KC, it would only lift Mahomes' already sky-high ceiling.

Joining Toney will be Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Richie James, and second-year player Skyy Moore. Jerick McKinnon also returns and is a legit pass-game threat out of the backfield. It's not the best supporting cast in the league, but it's plenty good enough for Mahomes.

Putting It All Together

Mahomes may see some drop off in his rushing output, particularly in the touchdown department, as he's unlikely to score four rushing tuddies again in 2023 -- although numberFire pegs him to produce 3.2 rushing scores. But even if Mahomes can't replicate his 2022 rushing success, it's well within his range of outcomes to repeat as the overall QB1.

He is as safe of a pick as anyone in fantasy football. With an all-time great offensive mind as his head coach, an elite playmaker at tight end and some exciting young wideouts, Mahomes should be in store for another excellent campaign.

There's really no reason to bet against him at this point.

While acknowledging that you can make strong cases for a few other passers to be the first quarterback taken, Mahomes is who I am rolling with.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.