Patrick Mahomes has an embarrassment of pass-catching riches

Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs in receptions and touchdown catches last season. Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

The battle between Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to become the Kansas City Chiefs' leading receiver last season was interesting, but that may turn out to be a warm-up act for 2018.

The Chiefs have changed quarterbacks from Alex Smith, who favored the more conservative throws, to Patrick Mahomes, who is more of a risk-taker. They also added -- at a hefty cost -- free-agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who showed signs in offseason practice of living up to his considerable potential. And the team plans to involve Kareem Hunt, the leading rusher in the NFL last season, more in the passing game.

It's such a strong group of skill players that ESPN recently ranked them as best in the league.

"I think we can be one of [the best], if not the best offense in the NFL," Mahomes said. "We have a ton of talent everywhere and we're deep at every position. I think with the offensive line all coming back pretty much and then having a good stable of running backs, having receivers and tight ends that can make plays, for me it's all about just getting them the ball and letting them make the plays."

But how will one ball be distributed among so much talent? Here's a look at each of the players and his chances for leading the Chiefs in catches, receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns:

TE Travis Kelce

Last season: 83 catches, 1,038 yards, 8 TDs

ESPN fantasy projection: Third round

Kelce led the Chiefs in catches and touchdowns last season. He also was targeted 122 times, 17 more than Hill. Kelce was second in yards.

Kelce appears ready to have another big season. The Chiefs don't have another receiving threat at tight end. Kelce played 836 offensive snaps last season, almost 100 more than any other offensive skill player except Smith. Taking away the final regular-season game, in which the Chiefs rested Kelce and some of their other best players, Kelce was in the lineup for 91 percent of Kansas City's offensive snaps.

That percentage doesn't figure to drop this season.

Kelce also may benefit in terms of touchdowns because of the change at quarterback to Mahomes, who has shown more of a willingness than Smith to stick throws into tighter windows. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Kelce should be a difficult player for opponents to cover in the end zone, particularly considering his athletic ability for someone of his size.

But last season the Chiefs threw to Kelce just twice in goal-to-go situations. That put him fourth on the Chiefs behind Hunt, backup tight end Demetrius Harris and backup running back Charcandrick West.

Both of Kelce's goal-to-go catches last season resulted in touchdowns.

"Sky is the limit," Kelce said of what the Chiefs can accomplish this season. "We have Pro Bowl-caliber, top-notch wide receivers. ... You added some pieces there. It is exciting."

Chances for leading the Chiefs: Good in catches and touchdowns.

WR Tyreek Hill

Last season: 75 catches, 1,183 yards, 7 TDs

ESPN fantasy projection: Third round

The Chiefs made Hill into a full-time wide receiver last season and things went about as well as they could have hoped. Not only did he lead the Chiefs in receiving yards, but he still had time to be the Chiefs' punt returner, taking one back for a touchdown.

Though his size -- at 5-10 and 185 pounds -- didn't hold him back last season, it will be interesting to see whether the Chiefs continue to give him a steady diet of snaps with the addition of Watkins. Hill is no longer Kansas City's only significant wide receiving threat and the Chiefs may choose to cut back on Hill's offensive playing time. Doing so could grant some snaps to their other receivers, including Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson, and perhaps allow Hill to return kickoffs, a duty he relinquished last season.

"We can take the top off of every defense that we play," Hill said. "We have Kareem in the back. We have Pat slinging it around. We have me, Sammy, Kelce, Chris, D-Rob, our offensive line protecting. Our offense can be the best in the league. We just have to put all the pieces together."

Chances for leading the Chiefs: Excellent in yards if he plays as much as he did last season.

WR Sammy Watkins

Last season (with Rams): 39 catches, 593 yards, 8 TDs

ESPN fantasy projection: Sixth round

Watkins has never caught more than 65 passes in any of his four NFL seasons. He has reached 1,000 yards once. And he's never played with a crowd of talented receivers like he will with the Chiefs.

But he's also never played with a quarterback as talented as Mahomes unless it was Jared Goff last season with the Rams. Even then, he joined Los Angeles shortly before the start of the season and had precious little time to practice with his new QB.

Watkins has worked with Mahomes since signing with the Chiefs in March. He looked good during offseason practice even as the Chiefs had him learn all of their various receiving positions.

Still, he's fighting an often ugly history for big-ticket free-agent wide receivers (see Terrelle Pryor 's bust of a 2017 season with Washington). They tend to struggle with their new teams, particularly in initial seasons. Jeremy Maclin did well for the Chiefs in 2015, but that was on a team that had only one other solid receiving option, that being Kelce.

"This offense is the broadest offense I've ever been in," Watkins said. "Anybody can get the ball. ... I just feel like you get more opportunities on linebackers, safeties. It's definitely easier working against a linebacker or getting open on safeties."

Chances for leading the Chiefs: Better for yards and touchdowns than receptions.

RB Kareem Hunt

Last season: 53 catches, 455 yards, 3 TDs

ESPN fantasy projection: First round

While Hunt is most effective running the ball (1,327 yards), he also finished third on the team in catches last season. That's a high number for a player who frequently came out of the game on passing downs. Hunt played on only a third of the third-down snaps. Look for that number to increase this season.

"I like that part," Hunt said of being more involved as a receiver. "It gives me the opportunity to get the ball in open space and make people miss."

Chances for leading the Chiefs: Hunt won't finish as Kansas City's top receiver in any of the categories, but the Chiefs want even more from him as a receiver than they got last season, which was considerable.