Mecole Hardman was criminally underrated in the 2020 fantasy football draft rankings.
The second year receiver out of Georgia was ranked well into the 200’s below many defenses, kickers, and maybe even some back up quarterbacks.
Despite the disrespect, Hardman has come out to play this season and has put up eye opening fantasy numbers for the second season in a row.
After a season high 24 point performance against the New York Jets last week, Hardman is primed for another big showing as the Chiefs host the Carolina Panthers.
Hardman Finding Ways to Produce in Elite Offense
The only logical reason for Hardman to carry such a low pre-season rank is because many people saw him as a gadget guy and a punt returner for the Chiefs, and not much else, given all the weapons at the disposal of Patrick Mahomes.
Hardman has consistently shown he can hold his own and has the ability to make big time plays down the field much like his speedy counterpart in Tyreek Hill.
Since losing Sammy Watkins to injury back in week five, Hardman has accepted the challenge of stepping into his place, and has become a reliable second option at wide out.
In fact, you could make the argument that Hardman has been the second option all season long.
He has had just two single digit fantasy performances this season, and was only out performed by Watkins one single time, all the way back in week one against the Houston Texans.
Excluding Edwards-Helaire and all his check down receptions and receptions behind the line of scrimmage, Hardman has the third most receptions on the team to go along with the best average at 15.8 yards per catch. He’s also got three touchdowns to boot.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are always going to get their opportunities, there is simply no way around that. However, playing with the best QB in the league and in an offense that passes the ball an average of 36.25 times a game means that there will be plenty of opportunities coming Hardman’s way as well.
The Panthers run defense is very bad, this is obvious, but their passing defense is not particularly great either.
Hardman will likely see Carolina’s third best cover guy all game long, and possess speed that can burn even top level defenders.
He has earned the trust of Patrick Mahomes – By now he should have also earned a spot in your line up.