Sophomore Projections: Isiah Pacheco

by Aditya Fuldeore · Dynasty Leagues

Welcome to Sophomore Projections: Isiah Pacheco! Now that the 2022 season is over, it’s time to turn right back to drafting for next season. The period between the Super Bowl and Free Agency is the most volatile as teams and roles are not complete until players sign, and rookies are drafted in the new league year.

Which rising sophomores are expected to see role decreases and fall in value or see role increases and rise in value after the new league year starts? Find out in this series, projecting the studs and duds in their sophomore years.

Rookie Year Player Breakdown

Winning a Super Bowl in his first season, Isiah Pacheco was a pleasant surprise as a rookie seventh round pick. For the first eight games of the season, Pacheco did not receive over a 33-percent Snap Share in a single game. However, he saw Snap Shares over 33-percent in all his remaining games. In nine of those games, he saw (including playoffs) at least 15 touches. He especially saw opportunity after Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s mid-season injury.

Isiah Pacheco Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Pacheco was an efficient runner, averaging 4.8 (No. 10) True Yards Per Carry, on a team with the No. 4 Game Script in the league.  He only had a 2.3-percent Target Share and did have the benefit of the No. 2 Run Blocking Rating. Pacheco was a surprise seventh-round rookie contributor who took advantage of the opportunity he was presented with.

Future Role & Production

As a late day three pick, Pacheco already has cause for concern for the stability of his role in Kansas City’s backfield. Despite his perceived success, Pacheco still did not see a Snap Share over 60-percent in a game during his rookie season. He saw more than three targets just once – in the AFC Championship game. Pacheco does not project as a three-down back in the Chiefs’ offense.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the only other Kansas City RB under contract for next season. Pacheco has usurped him. However, I expect the Chiefs to add to the backfield. A pass-catching back like Jerick McKinnon became a big part of the offense, so expect Kansas City to add a pass-catcher with Pacheco being more of a pure runner. Despite a top-5 Game Script in the league, the Chiefs ran the No. 24-most team run plays in the league. With Patrick Mahomes at QB, Kansas City is going to produce more through the air, leaving a smaller role for Pacheco despite better scoring opportunities.

Value Diagnosis

Currently, on KeepTradeCut, Isiah Pacheco is valued around the same as Rashod Bateman or a 2023 early second-round rookie pick for SuperFlex leagues. He is valued above Mike Evans and Aaron Jones. If you can get any of those four assets in exchange for Pacheco, I would advise going for it as Pacheco is the No. 43 RB on PlayerProfiler’s Dynasty Rankings. We have seen low draft capital RBs like Michael Carter and James Robinson get replaced easily. So, this is a peak sell-high time for Pacheco. Dealing him between now and free agency would be the optimal move for Pacheco dynasty managers.

In redraft and Best Ball leagues, Pacheco is more of a wait-and-see situation. While his long-term value is in doubt, he is worth monitoring for next season. He is not in the top tier or two of RBs, but he will see scoring opportunities with Kansas City.

In seasonal drafts, Pacheco would be a good pickup over other backup RBs like Elijah Mitchell or Michael Carter. Sell high on Pacheco in dynasty and draft him late in seasonal drafts.