Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has had two nearly identical seasons in terms of production to begin his career. Heading into year three, he's seen as a possible breakout candidate with Sammy Watkins now playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
However, fantasy managers banking on Hardman to finally figure it out could end up getting burned.
Mecole Hardman Fantasy Outlook
It's clear expectations are mounting for Hardman ahead of the season. He's currently being drafted as the WR57 (No. 144 overall), according to FantasyPros' Average Draft Position (ADP) data. There's no guarantee that Hardman steps as his team's WR2, though.
Hardman saw a boost from 41 targets as a rookie to 62 targets in 2020, and his receptions jumped from 26 to 41. Those were encouraging signs, even as his yards barely improved (538 to 560) and his touchdowns decreased (6 to 4). However, it wasn't any kind of a second-year leap that's expected from young players, and it's raised concerns about Hardman's true potential at the next level.
Watkins leaves behind 55 targets, which opens up an opportunity for Hardman to step into WR2-type production. Yet Hardman -- who played in all 16 games in 2020 -- didn't take advantage when Watkins missed six games last season, so it's fair to wonder if he's up to the task.
Even if Hardman does have what it takes to step up, he's still his team's third-best receiving option behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. And that's not even to mention Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who saw 54 targets out the backfield in 13 games as a rookie.
A true breakout year seems unlikely in a loaded Chiefs offense, especially since other options like Demarcus Robinson or Byron Pringle could challenge him for targets.
Hardman checks in at No. 133 in our top-200 fantasy football rankings for 2021.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.