2022 Kansas City Chiefs Preview: Roster Moves, Depth Chart, Schedule, Storylines and More

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Preview: Roster Moves, Depth Chart, Schedule, Storylines and More

This article is part of our Team Previews series.

Kansas City Chiefs

While Kansas City again reigned supreme in the AFC West in 2021, offseason shakeups among the team's division rivals make it arguably the most competitive division in the NFL. The Chiefs approach this season having made roster changes of their own as they seek a seventh consecutive division crown.

2022 Offseason Moves – Kansas City Chiefs

Key Acquisitions

With Darrel Williams gone, Jones will pair with Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Joins a fantasy-friendly offense that should provide numerous targets.

The deep-threat option is part of the Tyreek Hill replacement plan.

  • Skyy Moore – WR (Rd. 2, No. 54 – Western Michigan)

A second-round value who could seize a key role with a strong summer.

Key Departures

Nets a hefty payday from Miami after being traded for five draft picks.

Heads to Arizona to back up James Conner.

Followed new Bears GM Ryan Poles from Kansas City to Chicago.

Signed a one-year deal with Las Vegas after posting a 25-catch season.

Kansas City Chiefs 2022 Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Andy Reid (Year 10)

Offensive Coordinator: Eric Bieniemy (Year 5) – West Coast offense

Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo (Year 4) – 4-3 scheme

Stats to Know for the Kansas City Chiefs

2022 Vegas Projected Wins: 10.5 (T-4th)

2021 Record: 12-5

2021 Points Scored: 480 (4th)

2021 Points Allowed: 364 (8th)

2021 Point Differential: +116 (5th)

2021 Run-Play Rate: 37.6 percent (7th)

2021 Offensive Snaps: 1,052 (27th)

2021 PFF O-Line Ranking: No. 5

Full 2021 Team Stats

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart

QB: Patrick Mahomes / Chad Henne

RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire / Ronald Jones / Jerick McKinnon / Derrick Gore / Isiah Pacheco

WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster / Justin Watson

WR2: Mecole Hardman / Skyy Moore

WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling / Josh Gordon

TE: Travis Kelce / Blake Bell / Noah Gray / Jody Fortson

O-Line: LT Orlando Brown / LG Joe Thuney / C Creed Humphrey / RG Trey Smith / RT Andrew Wylie (RotoWire Rank: No. 5)

Kicker: Harrison Butker

Full 2022 Depth Chart

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule

WeekDateOpponentKickoff (ET)
1Sep 11@ Arizona Cardinals4:25 PM
2Sep 15Los Angeles Chargers8:15 PM
3Sep 25@ Indianapolis Colts1:00 PM
4Oct 2@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers8:20 PM
5Oct 10Las Vegas Raiders8:15 PM
6Oct 16Buffalo Bills4:25 PM
7Oct 23@ San Francisco 49ers4:25 PM
8Bye  
9Nov 6Tennessee Titans8:20 PM
10Nov 13Jacksonville Jaguars1:00 PM
11Nov 20@ Los Angeles Chargers4:25 PM
12Nov 27Los Angeles Rams4:25 PM
13Dec 4@ Cincinnati Bengals4:25 PM
14Dec 11@ Denver Broncos8:20 PM
15Dec 18@ Houston Texans1:00 PM
16Dec 24Seattle Seahawks1:00 PM
17Jan 1Denver Broncos1:00 PM
18TBD@ Las Vegas RaidersTBD

Kansas City Chiefs Storylines for 2022

Hill-Size Void To Fill out Wide

The trade of Tyreek Hill leaves a massive hole in the team's receiving corps. While a single replacement for such a playmaker is difficult to come by, the front office sought to improve the unit's depth, while quelling an issue in the passing attack – the deep ball. Hill, in particular, experienced a dip in his downfield looks, seeing his average depth of target decline from 12.9 yards in 2020 to 10.4 last season.

To assist with this, Kansas City added a pair of field-stretching options in Marquez Valdes-Scantling – who recorded the second-fastest speed for a ball carrier (22.09 mph) in 2021 – and rookie Skyy Moore (4.41 40 time at the combine). Valdes-Scantling works primarily as a straight-line receiver, averaging a league-leading 17.1 air yards per target last year. On the other hand, Moore owns a skill set to pick up yards after the catch.

The Western Michigan product is versatile and should see his share of snaps out of the gate. JuJu Smith-Schuster profiles as the top slot option after working there almost exclusively in five games with Pittsburgh last season. Meanwhile, speedy Mecole Hardman, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, has a chance to harness his potential with increased touches up for grabs. Also in the mix for targets are Josh Gordon, Justin Watson, Daurice Fountain and Cornell Powell.

New Ground Game To Stand On

Given that the Chiefs couldn't come to contract terms with Darrel Williams, Ronald Jones – who averaged at least 4.2 yards per carry in each of his last three seasons with the Buccaneers – was brought in to fill the void.

The addition of Jones gives the team a capable second back to pair with 2020 first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire after the latter missed 10 regular-season games over his first two NFL campaigns. Bringing in the 5-11, 208-pound Jones should benefit both parties in real terms, considering their contrasting skill sets.

Edwards-Helaire (5-8, 205) relies on his shiftiness and making defenders miss to grind out yards, while Jones is more of a north-south runner. What shapes up as a looming timeshare between the duo appears suboptimal from a fantasy perspective, but it's possible some of the targets that previously went to wideout Tyreek Hill get funneled to Kansas City's backfield.

Rounding out the squad's group of running backs as training camp approaches are returnee Jerick McKinnon, the Chiefs' leading runner in the playoffs last season, Derrick Gore (5.0 YPC on 51 rushes in 11 appearances in 2021) and rookie seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco, who is a potential sleeper. McKinnon may be the frontrunner for the No. 3 job, unless one of the team's UDFA signees (Jerrion Ealy or Tayon Fleet-Davis) surprises.

Still the Best out West?

Following a transaction-heavy offseason in the AFC West, the division is shaping up to be arguably the toughest in the NFL heading into 2022. Patrick Mahomes likely remains the top quarterback of the quartet, but the Broncos have a formidable challenger in Russell Wilson, the Chargers feature a budding Justin Herbert, and the Raiders return Derek Carr with a new star connection in former college teammate Davante Adams. The Chiefs are still one of the favorites, and it will be a popular wager as Kansas sports betting launches this football season.

The Chiefs used their own draft picks – plus some of the haul from the Tyreek Hill trade – to shore up the defense and to introduce another piece (Skyy Moore) to the passing attack. Adding Trent McDuffie and Bryan Cook should assist a Kansas City secondary that surrendered the sixth-most passing yards (4,273) a season ago. First-rounder George Karlaftis also should improve a defensive front that struggled to get to the QB last year, ranking 29th with just 31 sacks. Along the offensive line, the Chiefs graded out as one of the better units in the league in 2021, and they return their key cogs.

Overall, the team seemingly has deepened its depth across the board, albeit at the expense of losing an elite talent in Hill. The Chiefs remain the favorites to win the AFC West but face a more daunting task to repeat than in seasons past thanks to their rivals' aggressive moves.

Fantasy Football Stock Watch

⬆️  Rising: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

After spending much of last season injured, Smith-Schuster joins a rebuilt Chiefs wide receiver corps with an elite signal-caller at the helm. He should fill a starting slot role, assuming he can stay healthy. Smith-Schuster will also be a popular name for NFL player props this season as bettors will be able to wager with Kansas betting apps.

⬇️  Falling: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire ceded touches to Darrel Williams last year. Things seemed promising for CEH after Williams left in free agency, but the addition of Ronald Jones and resigning of Jerick McKinnon suggests that more snap-sharing is forthcoming.

😴  Sleeper: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

While he hasn't enjoyed a breakout campaign, Valdes-Scantling now goes from one star quarterback to another. Working in his favor is that Patrick Mahomes has the arm strength to take advantage of his elite speed.

🌟  Pivotal Player: Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes threw for north of 4,700 yards for the third time in his four years as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, earning him a fourth straight Pro-Bowl nod. Tyreek Hill no longer leads the team's wideout corps following his offseason trade to the Dolphins, but Mahomes still has star tight end Travis Kelce as a security blanket.

Kansas City Chiefs Injury Report

WR Skyy Moore

The Chiefs spent a second-round selection on Moore after he averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game at Western Michigan last season. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite at 100 percent during June's minicamp due to a bothersome hamstring, but the rookie still took reps with both the first- and second-team offenses during those sessions. As training camp opened, Moore declared himself 100 percent and "looked smooth and strong" at practice, per coach Andy Reid.

WR Josh Gordon

While he's likely in the twilight years of his career and hasn't returned to the level of success he saw back in 2013, Gordon will challenge for a depth role this year and could see his share of time on the field if he makes the roster and injuries begin to mount out wide. While the 31-year-old left practice with a trainer during minicamp in mid-June, there doesn't seem to be much concern regarding Gordon's status at the start of camp.

CB L'Jarius Sneed

On the defensive side of the ball, a lingering knee issue limited Sneed during the offseason program. The 25-year-old cornerback has been a critical piece in Kansas City's secondary the last two seasons and should resume those duties this fall. Sneed appeared to increase his activity level slightly as minicamp wore on, a positive sign regarding his status with camp off and running.

Training Camp Battle 2022 – Kansas City Chiefs

Job battles linger in multiple skill-position slots entering training camp – namely running back and wide receiver – but the competition out wide with Tyreek Hill now with Miami likely will draw the most attention.

Given the Chiefs' contractual investments in Marquez Valdes-Scantling (three years, $30 million) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (one year, up to $10.75 million), the pair would seem to be the safest options to garner every-down snaps.

However, digging deeper into the contracts reveals that Valdes-Scantling's backloaded arrangement allows the front office to move on following 2022 if they don't like what they see. Smith-Schuster's base salary of $3 million also leaves room to sit him or move on should he underperform.

Holdover Mecole Hardman has played in Hill's shadow over the past few seasons, so 2022 presents a genuine opportunity for him to break out if he can prove capable enough as a blocker to warrant consistent snaps. Additionally, the team's second-round investment in Skyy Moore undoubtedly will earn him a chance to see snaps both in the slot and out wide as a rookie.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Benzine
Chris is a sports editor for various sports on the site and also a consistent contributor in the college sports arena.
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