WR Mecole Hardman - Kansas City Chiefs
|5-11, 183||Born: 3-12-1998||College: Georgia||Drafted: Round 2, pick 2019|
Week 21: vs San Francisco 49ers
FBG says: Neutral matchup. The legend of Patrick Mahomes grows week after week, achievement after achievement. One week after spearheading a 51-7 run to upend the Texans, Mahomes carved up Tennessee with 294 too-easy yards and 2 scores in the Championship Game. Andy Reid's bunch seems never truly out of a game, so long as Mahomes is given the chance to beat defenses downfield with his lethal receiving corps. Armed with the NFL's collection of wideouts, Mahomes is often given a wide array of options all over the formation. Tight end Travis Kelce looms over all, and all indications are that his knee injury from last month are behind him. Kelce was bracketed well by the Titans in the Championship Round, but the Texans are still having nightmares of his 134-yard, 3-touchdown eruption the week before. He's one of football's toughest covers over the middle and up the seams, and a Rob Gronkowski-level mismatch near the goal line. For their parts, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman are ever-present threats to blow a game wide open with a single play. Hill scored twice last week, on a jet-sweep toss and a fantastic one-on-one win down the field. Watkins put Kansas City up big with a 60-yard go-route touchdown, and Hardman later sealed the game by drawing a 49-yard interference penalty. That said, drops have been a noticeable problem this postseason, with at least five catchable throws missed. All told, though, there hasn't been a more frightening attack in years, and there's virtually no ceiling for the plays they're capable of making. Most would argue that the 49ers are in the Super Bowl thanks mostly to their pass defense, which has been fantastic for much of the season. No team has allowed fewer yards through the air, and only 4 of 18 opposing passers has topped 250 in a game. (It bears noting that two of those opponents relied heavily on garbage time to do it - including Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago.) The dominance starts up front, where Nick Bosa and Dee Ford have bent the edges consistently and combined for 19.5 sacks through 18 games. Between them, Arik Armstead (10.0) and DeForest Buckner (7.5) push the pocket exceptionally well, and life is rarely easy for opposing passers. Behind them, second-year man Fred Warner broke out as one of football's most impactful pass-defending linebackers. In the secondary, All-Pro Richard Sherman leads a group that's consistently been greater than the sum of its parts. Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon are somewhat beatable across the field, but K'Waun Williams remains extremely stingy in the slot. Together, they stifled Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (a combined 107 yards) in the Divisional Round, then held Davante Adams to little more than screen catches in an impressive NFC Championship showing. They'll have their hands full with Kansas City's speed, and Travis Kelce is a walking mismatch at tight end. But if any defense boasts the depth, four-man pass rush, and downfield physicality to slow Patrick Mahomes and his weapons, it's this one.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs WR 1, WR 12, WR 24, WR 36
Mecole Hardman's percentile rank in each category, among WR with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2019 Week 20 vs TEN (1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught one pass for eight yards on one target in the Chiefs win over the Titans on Sunday. Hardman was used sparingly in this game, and with the Chiefs offense running through Watkins and Hill, there were even less opportunities than usually available for the rookie wide receiver. He still managed to make a play that jumpstarted the Chiefs offense. With a little under seven minutes left in the second quarter, the Titans kicked off after scoring a touchdown to put them up 17-7. Hardman caught the ball at the two yard line and ran it 35 yards up the field to put the Chiefs in excellent field position to star the game. This has been his M-O all year, and you get the feeling that Andy Reid will devise several plays for his electric rookie in the Super Bowl, especially if the Chiefs get down to start the game. Hardman isn't seeing many touches in the passing game, but he has high value to the Chiefs return game, as giving the offense advantageous field position just adds one more huge wrinkle to any scheme that is designed to stop them. Look for Hardman to make at least one big play on special teams, and then watch how his return galvanizes and pumps up his offense.
2019 Week 19 vs HOU (4 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 14 yards on four targets in the Chiefs win over the Texans on Sunday. Hardman did not make much of an impact in the passing game, but anyone who watched this game will remember Hardman's 58 yard kickoff return that kickstarted the Chiefs comeback from 24 points down. It was a crucial play in the context of the game's momentum, but it shouldn't come as much surprise given Hardman's penchant for making big plays on limited touches each week.
2019 Week 17 vs LAC (1 / 1 / 30 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught one pass for 30 yards on one target in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Sunday. Despite his size, Hardman made an excellent catch on the ball as Mahomes fired a pass to him crossing over the middle and as soon as he caught the ball, he was met by a Chargers defender from the back. Hardman got crushed on the play, but he held onto the ball and it was a pivotal play that set up Robinson's touchdown catch on the next play. This was not Hardman's most important play of the day though, as that came on a kickoff return where he raced 104 yards for a touchdown. Hardman is a big play waiting to happen and has played a rather big part in the Chiefs offense this year despite not seeing a large amount of touches.
2019 Week 14 vs NE (1 / 1 / 48 / 1 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught one pass for 48 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs win over the Patriots on Sunday. Hardman's involvement in the Chiefs offense continues to be sporadic, but that hasn't stopped him from churning out big plays at important times. Hardman's touchdown was one of only two on the day for the Chiefs, and it helped them escape New England with an important victory for their playoff hopes. Hardman's touchdown came with the facing a second and 25 from the Patriots 48 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and had forever to look downfield and wait for his receivers routes to develop. When Mahomes was finally faced with pressure from the Patriots pass rush, he faded back on his heels and delivered a strike down the field to Hardman who was running a deep out-post route to the left sideline. The pass was a little behind Hardman, but the receiver made a nice adjustment on the ball, catching it and then dodging two defenders on his way to the end zone for a 48 yard touchdown.
2019 Week 13 vs OAK (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Hardman looked like the second fastest player on the field on a jet sweep for a good gain and for some reason was never heard from again on offense on the afternoon.
2019 Week 11 vs LAC (4 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 13 yards on four targets in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Hardman doesn't have a ton of value in the Chiefs offense when everyone is healthy, however with the top two running backs injured, and Hill leaving this game with an injury, Hardman may have stumbled into a great position during the stretch run of the regular season. Hardman was contained in this game, partly because the Chiefs could not get much going in the passing game, and partly because the Chargers were not going to let the Chiefs beat them down the field. It would have been the perfect game to unleash Hardman on some end-around's, reverses or receiver screens, but Reid did not go in that direction. This isn't a great sign for Hardman, but pay attention to the injury report before the Chiefs week 13 game against the Raiders. Hardman makes for an interesting play if Hill, Williams and McCoy were to miss time.
2019 Week 10 vs TEN (1 / 1 / 63 / 1 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught one pass for 63 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs loss to the Titans on Sunday. Once again, Hardman was not on the field for too many snaps, yet, once again, he made his presence felt by scoring a 63 yard touchdown on his only offensive touch of the day. Excluding week nine, where he did not record a catch, Hardman now has five catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns in weeks seven, eight and ten. Hardman's touchdown in this game was exactly as you would have expected it, as he got a chance to show off his speed and predictably, the defense had no chance of catching him once he got going. The entire play was a highlight reel with Mahomes kicking off the play with a jump-pass in a crowded pocket that was collapsing al around him. The jump-pass gave him a little extra time and a lot more leverage, which enabled him to get the pass off clean and out in front of Hardman. By doing this, Hardman was able to catch the ball in stride and turn it upfield. Hardman then outran the entire Titans secondary on his way to a 63 yard touchdown.
2019 Week 9 vs MIN (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
Mecole Hardman did not have a catch and rushed only one time for seven yards in the Chiefs win over the Vikings on Sunday. Hardman's most impact play was for the Vikings unfortunately, as he fumbled away the ball during a punt return. This stat line shouldn't be that surprising though, as Hardman was not seeing a large volume of touches. With Hill back in the lineup, and Moore at quarterback, Hardman was somewhat disposable as a utility player. With Mahomes back at quarterback this week, Hardman should get more opportunities simply because the Chiefs offense will get more opportunities, but he will continue to be a hard player to trust from week to week for the rest of the season.
2019 Week 8 vs GB (2 / 2 / 55 / 1 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 55 yards and a touchdown on only two targets in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Hardman was once again electric, churning out to the two longest receptions of the Chiefs offense on his only two touches of the game. Hardman's touchdown catch came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Packers 30 yard line. Moore took the snap out of the shotgun and dropped the ball in front of him to Hardman who was coming across the formation from the right to the left side. The Chiefs offensive line and fellow receivers set up blocks very well for Hardman to get him downfield enough for him to use his speed. Hardman got going downhill and then made one cut back to the middle of the field that was incredibly smooth, and it happened so fast that a Packers defender missed a wide open diving tackle that he had a great angle on but just could not time it right with Hardman running so fast. Hardman was not touched on the play until right after he crossed the goal line, giving the rookie receiver his fourth touchdown of the season and his second consecutive game with a touchdown. Hardman gives the Chiefs yet another incredible athlete with speed on the outside and inside slot, but what was once thought of as a luxury pick (or a potential replacement for Tyreek Hill had he encountered the wrath of Roger Goodell) has turned into a pivotal player in the Chiefs offense, regardless of his lack of volume. He's the type of player who can break any play wide open for a long touchdown, and he has earned his way onto the field by outplaying Demarcus Robinson pretty badly over the last six games.
2019 Week 7 vs DEN (3 / 2 / 28 / 1 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown on three targets in the Chiefs win over the Broncos. Once again it was all feast or famine from Hardman, as he's not seeing enough targets to be counted on every week, but he has managed to make big plays, scoring a touchdown or eclipsing 70+ yards in four of his last six games. Hardman's touchdown catch came with the Chiefs facing a third and two om the Broncos 21 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and looked to Hardman running a crossing route towards the left sideline. The pass was out in front of Hardman and the receiver initially bobbled the ball, but was able to corral it and turn the corner before his defender could recover. Hardman then was able to slip one arm tackle from a Broncos defender before scoring on the 21 yard reception.
2019 Week 6 vs HOU (4 / 4 / 45 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught four passes on four targets for 45 yards in the Chiefs loss to the Texans on Sunday. With Hill back in the lineup, Hardman became more of a gadget receiver, as the Chiefs gave him several designed screen plays, but that was about it for the rookie receiver. Hardman has the speed to give the Chiefs another weapon when Hill is being double covered, but it will be hard for him to break through into the starting lineup with Hill, Watkins and Robinson in front of him on the depth chart. That is before you even consider Travis Kelce, so Hardman is looking at being the fifth option at best. His home run ability gives you some upside to chase if you need help at receiver on bye weeks though.
2019 Week 5 vs IND (6 / 4 / 79 / 0 rec, 1 / -6 / 0 rush)
Mecole Hardman caught four passes on six targets for 79 yards in the Chiefs loss to the Colts on Sunday. Hardman was one of the few Chiefs offensive players able to generate big plays against the Colts. He had catches of 16, 22, 31 and 19 yards. His 31 yard catch was the long gain of the night for the Chiefs, coming on a long pass down the right sideline where his defender interfered with him on two different occasions. Mahomes threw the ball on the run (another incredible throw) right into Hardman's hands in stride, but Hardman also deserves credit for the concentration shown to catch the ball despite being interfered with. Despite the Chiefs offense being down this week, this was a good showing on Hardman's part. The Chiefs are using him in a variety of ways similar to how they used Tyreek Hill early in his career, and it will be interesting to see how the offense runs when Hill returns to the lineup sometime in the next two weeks.
2019 Week 4 vs DET (5 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for nine yards on five targets against the Lions on Sunday. His low yardage was not a result of Hardman only being targeted in the short passing game as three of his five targets came at least 20 yards down the field. Hardman was unable to reel in any of those passes, so he had to settle for trying to create yards after the catch, which he was unsuccessful in doing. Hardman is a feast or famine type target, and as we saw this past week, when he's not blowing by defenders with his speed, he's not going to come down with a lot of catches.
2019 Week 3 vs BAL (5 / 2 / 97 / 1 rec, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 97 yards and a touchdown on five targets against the Ravens. Hardman has seen increased snaps with Tyreek Hill out with an injury, and the rookie continues to show why the Chiefs drafted him so early. After scoring a touchdown in his starting debut last week, Hardman had the long play of the game, scoring on an 83 yard touchdown catch for the Chiefs second touchdown of the day. With the Chiefs facing a first and ten from their own 17 yard line, Hardman was lined up in the left inside slot position. Prior to the snap, Mahomes motioned Watkins from the outside left position to Hardman's right. This motion confused the Ravens defense, as when Mahomes took the snap, the nickel back went right to where Watkins was lined up before the snap. This allowed Hardman to get a free release off the line, and with his speed, that was bound to cause problems. Hardman ran free down the middle of the field before Mahomes found him perfectly in stride at midfield. From there it was a foot race and the Ravens had no chance, as Hardman ran untouched into the endzone for an 83 yard touchdown. Hardman's other catch was also of the highlight variety, as Mahomes threw a swing pass to him that was deflected by a Ravens defensive lineman. Instead of it going for a pick six, Hardman was able to pluck the ball out of midair, reverse field and pick up 14 yards.
2019 Week 2 vs OAK (6 / 4 / 61 / 1 rec)
Mecole Hardman caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown on six targets in the Chiefs win over the Raiders on Sunday. Hardman saw extended time with the Chiefs first team offense due to Tyreek Hill injury and he took full advantage of his playing time by scoring a 42 yard touchdown. On this play, the Chiefs were facing a third and 20 from the Raiders 42 yard line. Hardman was lined up in the inside left slot position and ran a deep post to the middle of the field. Hardman got a step off the line of scrimmage and continued to increase that separation, especially when he reached the apex of his route and curled towards the middle of the field. He blew by the Raiders safeties and Mahomes threw a perfect ball to Hardman in stride for a 42 yard touchdown. Hardman was drafted in part because of his elite speed, as well as his ability to run the type of routes that the Chiefs have designed for Hill. With that said, Hardman is much more than insurance policy on Hill as he has the type of speed and agility that the Chiefs can use when opponents try to limit Hill, Kelce, Watkins and Robinson. The Chiefs offense is an embarrassment of riches, and I fully expect Hardman to continue to get better as the year progresses.
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