A seventh-round pick last year, Isiah Pacheco didn’t get much consideration in fantasy football heading into the season. He was a backup for a Kansas City Chiefs team that had an established starter, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and a pass-first offense.
By the second half of the season, Pacheco was starting with the Chiefs and putting up the kind of numbers that demand notice. The question for this year is what can he do for a follow-up?
2023 Fantasy Football: Isiah Pacheco Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Pacheco didn’t see meaningful playing time until halfway through the season. He still managed to finish the year with 830 yards on 170 carries with five rushing scores. He added another 130 yards on 13 receptions and proved integral to Kansas City’s Super Bowl-winning campaign.
Updated Chiefs outlook
Pacheco may still have to compete with Edwards-Helaire for touches this year. It’s possible the veteran, after three underwhelming seasons, could still put it all together and live up to the billing he had as a first-round pick in 2020.
Still, it’s safe to approach the season as though Pacheco will still have the starting job on a high-speed offense that once again should compete for a Super Bowl. He did have surgeries this spring to deal with hand and shoulder issues, injuries he still managed to play through last season.
Best case scenario
With an entire season of work as the starting running back in Kansas City’s offense, Pacheco has the chance to put up some impressive numbers. The last time the Chiefs had a 1,000-yard rusher was 2017 when Kareem Hunt did it. If Pacheco can stay healthy and the Chiefs don’t lean too much on the other running backs on the roster, he could top the 1,000-yard mark with close to double-digit touchdowns.
Worst case scenario
It’s also possible that Pacheco could be forced to settle into a committee role like the Chiefs, not doing enough to earn an outsized role in the backfield. In that situation, he might not be able to accumulate more than 500-600 yards with a small handful of touchdowns, enough production to frustrate fantasy football lineups on a regular basis.
Pacheco earned it, and he should have something more akin to a No. 1 running back role this season. That should be enough for him to get to 1,000 yards or so with six or seven touchdowns.