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Will Isiah Pacheco Continue to Rise the Dynasty Ranks?

After a breakout rookie season, what can you expect in year two for Isiah Pacheco? @DarthDbacks has the projections and expectations

Isiah Pacheco took the fantasy world by storm last preseason. He showcased his talent, speed, and elusiveness as he took the hearts of dynasty players nationwide. Pacheco proved to the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs that a late-round unheralded running back deserved to be on the best team in the NFL. Not only that, he proved that he deserved to start. He became the Chiefs’ RB1 and never looked back. Pacheco was crucial to Kansas City excelling late in the season. He got their ground game going. Isiah made it so that teams had to respect the running back on the Chiefs. It worked like a charm all the way to the Lombardi Trophy.

2022 Season Recap

Pacheco went from a seventh-round pick with very little fanfare to demolishing training camp and earning a spot on the Kansas City Chiefs star-studded roster as the third running back on the roster. It didn’t take long for him to outperform Clyde Edwards-Helaire and impress Head Coach Andy Reid. By Week Nine, the rushing part of the Chiefs’ backfield belonged solely to Isiah Pacheco. Clyde and pass-catching back Jerick McKinnon mixed in, but Pacheco saw seven weeks in a row with at least 13 carries. He rose from waiver wire fodder to RB2 status in the dynasty world really fast.

Last year, Pacheco carried the ball 170 times for 830 yards, five touchdowns, and caught 13 of his 14 targets for 130 yards. He averaged a very healthy 4.9 yards per attempt as he displayed elite agility and speed on the field. While he was hardly used as a pass-catcher, he proved he was adept at receiving and, were it not for star McKinnon, would be deserving of a larger role in the Chiefs’ passing game. Of course, he has to learn to block better. That’s going to be crucial to watch this year as if he can. Pacheco can become the Chiefs’ three-down back and fully break out.

2023 Season Projection

This season is crucial for Pacheco to continue to grow as a rusher and blocker. The Kansas City Chiefs will forever be a pass-first offense thanks to Patrick Mahomes being the quarterback. That doesn’t mean that Pacheco can’t thrive in the 2023 season. Thanks to Mahomes, rushing lanes are wide open and aplenty. Isiah knows how to find the right hole and gash the defense for big yardages. If the 24-year-old can learn how to block better, Andy Reid will use him more in passing downs and sequences. That will earn Pacheco some valuable time on the field, especially in the red zone. While it remains to be seen if that can happen as CEH and the solid McKinnon are back once again, one thing is for certain. Isiah Pacheco is the RB1 of the Kansas City Chiefs’ lethal offense.

Isiah Pacheco 2023 Projection
My 2023 projection for Isiah Pacheco – 10.2 PPR ppg

Looking at this season and the fact that the Chiefs don’t rush the ball a ton and have to find carries for their guys, I project Pacheco to see a solid, albeit minor, increase in rushes and targets. He’s still growing, and Andy Reid tends to play the hot hand. When the Chiefs are in shootouts, McKinnon is going to be on the field a ton. Plus, Deneric Prince and CEH will be thorns in the rushing attempts for Pacheco. Regardless, he will get enough touches to put up solid late-RB2 numbers. It’ll be best if you can have him as your flex/RB3. Still, Pacheco will pop off for big weeks.

Plus, if he can get into those passing situations more, then Pacheco can easily vault up to the high-end RB2 range. Unfortunately, it’s quite unlikely he’ll ever reach RB1 range as the Chiefs’ vaunted offense is just too talented through the air to sustain that kind of heavy rushing that would be needed.

Long-Term Dynasty Outlook

Pacheco is a hard dynasty asset to nail down his future. He’s locked into the Chiefs for three more seasons which is a great thing. However, it also limits his upside, especially while McKinnon is there. It’s a mystery, too, because he was a seventh-round pick. Kansas City can easily pick a higher guy in next year’s draft. Then, Pacheco is on the bench or in the RB2 spot. That would be a death knell to his dynasty stock.

Right now, I wouldn’t want Pacheco unless I’m contending and need a viable RB3/flex play. In that case, I’d be open to dealing a two late seconds or one early second-round pick. In no way, shape, or form is he worth a first-round pick. Pacheco’s just limited right now in so many different ways, from rushes to targets to a mysterious future. I wouldn’t recommend rebuilding with him.

Sell him now while the price is still gaining. Remember, fantasy players are like stocks. You want to sell when the price is high. Pacheco is a great player. Yet, he’s a better in-real-life player than a fantasy player. He’s going to help Kansas City continue to dominate the NFL. It just remains to be seen if he will do more than help your dynasty team this season long-term. Buy into Pacheco if you’re a contender but be wary of the fact that the rug could get pulled out from under you any week.

Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Darth” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so! Connect with me on Twitter @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, and Marvel, and interact with the fantasy football community. For more articles of mine, click here.

As always, May the Force be with You…

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