With Travis Kelce’s dynamic receiving duo partner traded to Miami, will Travis Kelce see less targets in 2022 as opposing defenses focus on the All-Pro Tight End?
Ever since the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Travis Kelce’s numbers have been consistently impressive. With the addition of Hill’s electrifying speed, Travis Kelce saw less and less double team coverage and was able to become the player we all know today. This dangerous duo was the main factor in Kansas City’s recent success. Opposing teams did not have the defensive personnel to match up against the two superstars.
The difficulty of slowing down or stopping this duo was near impossible. This duo forced many teams to choose who to double team. The player that the defense decided not to focus on almost always had a huge game. This made it easy for Patrick Mahomes to succeed at the start of his career. Travis Kelce has flourished in this offense with Tyreek Hill as he was named to the First Team AP All-Pro team three separate times. Although life without Tyreek Hill may become somewhat difficult for Kelce.
Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL for many years now. But Tyreek Hill is not in Kansas City this year, how will that affect Travis Kelce?
Kelce is now the obvious number one threat on the team this year, he can expect many more double teams. Without another receiver as the same caliber as Hill on the team, defenses will game plan specifically for Kelce weekly. This can affect his potential targets this season as it will be tougher for Kelce to get open without the attention that Hill would attract. While Tyreek Hill was on the team, Kelce’s targets has been as high as 150, but without Hill they were down to 103. One can make the argument that Kelce is a much better receiver now then he was back in 2015 and of course that must be considered. But the Chiefs will not be able to replace Hill’s ability to free up Kelce’s routes over the course of the season.
The Chiefs have done an impressive job in rebuilding the receiver core this offseason. New acquisitions such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will prove to be valuable assets to the team. But none of them will be able to garner the attention of defensive backs like Tyreek Hill.
Prediction (105-115 Targets, 1000-1100 Receiving Yards)
Travis Kelce will ultimately still be at the top of the tight end food chain at the end of the season. However, he will see a dip in targets and possibly receiving yards as it will be more of a challenge for him to get open this season. Opposing defenses will constantly be game planning to stop Kelce as he is the main threat of the offense this season. This new look receiving core will help to a point but will ultimately not free up Kelce’s routes as Hill once did. But at the end of the day, great players always figure out their opponents and adjust, and that’s what is expected from this all-time great tight end.