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What's the fantasy football fallout of the shocking Tyreek Hill trade?

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Boy … that escalated quickly.

That was my primary reaction to the Chiefs trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for a bushel of draft picks Wednesday morning. We went from trade rumors around Hill at 8:00 am PT to a trade being consummated right after 9:30 am.

This NFL offseason is truly on another level of wild.

The Chiefs get back the 29th and 50th overall selection in 2022, as well as a fourth-rounder and two Day 3 picks in 2023 from the Dolphins for Hill. Miami immediately turned around and gave the Pro Bowl wideout a massive contract extension that tops what Davante Adams received from the Raiders last week.

Exceeding or even coming close to Adams’ new $28 million contract was the breaking point for Kansas City and started the process that eventually ended with Hill’s exit to Miami.

The Chiefs drew a line in the sand financially and that’s understandable given the position they’re in. Patrick Mahomes is the centerpiece of their franchise and his cap hit is set to start rising in the coming years.

However, this is a huge loss for the Chiefs' offense right away. It’s hard to come up with many non-quarterbacks who are bigger difference-makers for their offenses than Hill. Not only is he a full-field, complete No. 1 wide receiver, but he’s also a field-tilter and coverage dictator thanks to his rare speed.

You can alter your offense to accommodate life after Tyreek Hill but you don’t simply replace a player with this type of multi-layered impact.

It’s hard to imagine Hill's loss doesn’t at least sap some juice out of the outlooks for Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Again, this is a field-flipping talent who simply opens up so much for the players around him:

Mahomes is the best quarterback in football and a talent-elevator. He’ll just have to do a lot more of that than usual in 2022 and beyond.

Fallout of Hill trade for Chiefs and Dolphins: Who wins? Who loses?

Kansas City apparently turned their sights quickly to Packers’ free agent Marquez Valdes-Scantling to replace some of the speed they’re losing. If that signing happens, fine.

MVS can replace one of Hill’s many assignments: Run down the field really fast. But that’s about it.

They already added JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-year deal. While he’s a good big slot receiver, we know at this point he’s not a true No. 1. He’s a helpful piece and certainly has slightly more fantasy appeal after today but the Chiefs need to add someone with a higher ceiling in their range of outcomes. The rest of the depth chart beyond JuJu is pretty barren.

Kansas City now sports two picks in each of the first three rounds in April’s draft. They are almost a lock to pull from a talented pool of incoming rookies now. A vertical playmaker like Jameson Williams will draw a lot of dot-connecting from the media, as will a number of speedy playmakers who ripped it up at the combine.

The Chiefs now have the resources to maneuver up the board if there’s a particular name they have their hearts set on, or the flexibility to let the position come to them because of their sudden bounty of picks.

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All of Hill’s transformative effects will now make their way into Miami’s offense. For all their resources over the last few years, the Dolphins have not put a strong supporting cast around Tua Tagovailoa — until now.

The combination of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle likely gives Miami the fastest pair of starting receivers in the NFL. The amount of matchup nightmares, jet sweeps and misdirections concepts new head coach Mike McDaniel can create with these two guys is mind-bending. Credit to the Dolphins for seeing a unique opportunity to add a rare talent and pouncing — even at an exorbitant cost.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill will now be Tua Tagovailoa's No. 1 option in Miami. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The addition of Hill also comes on the back of adding star left tackle Terron Armstead, solid guard Conner Williams in free agency and remaking the running back room with Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. If McDaniel brings some of the layup-heavy concepts from the Shanahan-tree with him to Miami, this offense is going to be quite fun to watch and life will be much easier for Tua.

Of course, we still have questions about whether Tua can be an above-average starter for the course of a full season. The Dolphins even hedged their bets by signing Teddy Bridgewater, who wouldn’t confirm that he was signed by Miami with backup-only expectations. If Tua cannot succeed with the players added this offseason alongside Waddle and Mike Gesicki, it is likely time to call it on his future as a starter. But there still should be some hope Dolphins fans don’t have to consider that reality.

From a pure fantasy football perspective, for all the flowers thrown Hill’s way, it’s impossible to paint his move from Mahomes and the Chiefs to Tua and the Dolphins as anything but a downgrade. Unlike Adams and the Raiders, Hill isn’t going to get an overall offensive volume boost to offset the quarterback step-down since he’s going to a run-heavy and slow-paced offense branching from the Shanahan tree. He has to fall outside of the top-five receivers at the position.

Waddle’s outlook is a bit trickier. With no Hill trade, Waddle would have been a comfortable top-10 selection at the receiver position. It would seem unlikely this offense has the capacity or overall pace and pass-attempt volume to support two WR1s.

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Hill’s presence is going to boost the overall ceiling of this unit and open things up for Waddle, who did a ton of underneath work as a rookie. However, the WR1-ceiling imagined for Waddle in 2022 does appear a bit capped now.

The questions about Tagovailoa as a player who elevates those around him and isn’t just a product of his environment remain quite real. If he answers those questions in the positive direction quickly, there’s a level of dynamism that all of these players can reach in fantasy. Given what we know about the player and how many new pieces need to gel here, it’s best to approach things with a bit more of a conservative mindset for the time being.

There’s no doubt the Dolphins' offense just hit a new level of intrigue we haven’t seen from this unit in years. They’ll be high on the “must-watch” index given the flexibility and juice now readily available thanks to the presence of Hill and Waddle.

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