Patrick Mahomes’s breakout brings back memories of Kurt Warner

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has throw 14 touchdown passes and averaged 302 passing yards in his first five games.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has throw 14 touchdown passes and averaged 302 passing yards in his first five games.(ED ZURGA/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Kurt Warner came out of nowhere at the quarterback position in 1999, leading St. Louis to a Super Bowl win and being named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. What’s most memorable about Warner’s first season as the starter to me, though, is that Warner was plucked off the fantasy waiver wire in ’99 and won someone a title.

Nineteen years later, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is reminding me of this Warner scenario. The scripts are different — unlike Warner, Mahomes didn’t play in the Arena League and stock shelves in a supermarket before getting an NFL shot. Mahomes was a first-round pick in 2017 who sat most of that season behind Alex Smith. Smith was dealt in the offseason, so we knew we would see Mahomes in 2018.


What we didn’t know was that Mahomes would throw 14 touchdown passes and average 302 passing yards in his first five games.

Overlooked during fantasy drafts in 1999, Warner passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns in his first game. No one in my league paid attention. But in Warner’s second game he threw for another three scores. I put in a waiver claim but lost — to the guy who ended up winning the league.

Mahomes’s impact reminds me of Warner’s. I’m in two season-long leagues and it’s no coincidence the teams who own Mahomes are a combined 8-2. If the Texas Tech product keeps up this pace he’ll be the first quarterback selected in next year’s drafts.

Sneaky play: Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford are on byes — do you need a quarterback? Plug in Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton. He’s home against the Steelers, a team he’s seen countless times.

MVP of the weekend: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England. Gronkowski has been solid but look for a breakout against a worn-down Kansas City defense. A bonus: The Chiefs have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends.


Why Bill Belichick loves your fantasy team: Sony Michel owners can rejoice, the Patriots are featuring the talented rookie running back, and he gets better every week.

Starter’s remorse: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers. Allen has 32 receptions but only one touchdown. This is the type of non-scoring production from a high draft pick that sinks fantasy teams.

Watch out for: Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay. At some point the Packers are going to feature Jones, and a likely launching pad would be Monday night against San Francisco.

Waiver claim of the week: Chris Ivory, RB, Buffalo. Ivory would be vaulted into the Bills’ top running back role if LeSean McCoy is traded.

Ed Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan.