It has been clear most all of this season that the Kansas City Chiefs have lost some explosion on offense.
Patrick Mahomes had one of his worst seasons statistically, throwing for a career-high 14 interceptions while also passing for more than 1,000 yards less than last year. Travis Kelce, widely considered the best tight end in the league, is starting to show signs of regression and one of the top stories all year was all of the dropped passes by the team's wide receivers.
But as the Chiefs battled to another AFC West title, rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice has become a huge beacon of light for this team. The second-round pick out of SMU did a lot of his work toward the latter stages of this season.
Through the first 10 games of the season, Rice had just 36 catches and three touchdowns. He didn't seem like he was much better for the team than the likes of Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. But then he began to turn it on.
Just when the Chiefs needed someone to step up and help Mahomes, Rice caught 41 passes and scored four touchdowns in the team's final eight games. He continued that trend on Saturday night in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, catching eight passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Though he doesn't possess the same speed as Tyreek Hill, Rice is beginning to form a confident connection with Mahomes that this team desperately needed. And now, to make a bold prediction, I feel that he is the team's best offensive option (aside from Mahomes) going forward.
Yes, better than Kelce and better than Isiah Pacheco.
Rice is going to become the guy that Mahomes leans on. Kelce will still be there to make plays, but defenses have started to figure out that in order to beat the Chiefs, you need to take away No. 87. Rice is starting to make that much harder to do, much like Hill did in the past.
Rice finished the regular season with 79 receptions for 938 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers should only get better with the way he is playing to cap off this season and with the connection he has created with Mahomes.
Target Rice in your seasonal fantasy football leagues next year and if you have him on your dynasty roster, you have a player who could be playing at a Pro-Bowl level as soon as next season.