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Isiah Pacheco

Will Pacheco ride KC's greatness to big numbers?

The season is days away, and I notice that the opener includes a couple of players of particular importance to me. Isiah Pacheco and David Montgomery are the two running backs that I feel are the most undervalued in fantasy drafts. Those guys are key to my championship hopes.

By the end of that first game – before 30 NFL teams have even taken a snap – we’ll have an idea of whether the 2023 season is going to be a good one for Fantasy Index readers. If Pacheco and Montgomery stink, we’ll see plenty of comments on the website on Friday, with the potential for a tough year. If they’re as good as I’m expecting, it will be a year that Index-influenced teams, as Jameis Winston might say, will be “eating a lot of Ws”.

Saturday I posted the warning article on James Conner. I’m leery of backs from bad teams. With Pacheco, we have kind of the opposite. Talent-wise, he’s arguably similar to Conner – an ordinary kind of back – but he’s landed the plum gig of starting for the league’s best team.

With Conner, we looked at teams that won 3 or fewer games. With Pacheco, it’s reasonable to look instead at teams that won 13-plus games, then consider the best running backs on those rosters.

In the 32-team era, I see 53 teams that won 13-plus games. They include 25 running backs who finished with top-10 numbers (using PPR scoring), and another 13 who finished with top-20 numbers.

That’s 72 percent of those teams finishing with a running back who put up top-20 numbers. (Honestly, that’s a little lower than I was expecting – I thought there would be a few more in each category.)

In the chart below, I’ve put the top-10 backs in bold. For the other top-20 guys, they’re tagged with black dots.

Barring some kind of injury, I’m expecting Pacheco to challenge for top-15 numbers at his position.

RUNNING BACKS ON TEAMS WINNING 13-PLUS GAMES
YearPlayerW-LRunRecTDPPRRk
2003Priest Holmes, K.C.13-31,42069027447.01
2003Kevin Faulk, N.E.14-26384400155.829
2004Brian Westbrook, Phil.13-38127039278.57
2004Corey Dillon, N.E.14-21,63510313268.88
2004Jerome Bettis, Pitt.15-19414613187.222
2005Shaun Alexander, Sea.13-31,8807828378.81
2005Edgerrin James, Ind.14-21,50633714312.35
2005• Mike Anderson, Den.13-31,01421213218.612
2006LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D.14-21,81550831483.31
2006• Thomas Jones, Chi.13-31,2101546208.218
2006Jamal Lewis, Balt.13-31,1321159196.721
2007Joseph Addai, Ind.13-31,07236415276.64
2007Marion Barber, Dall.13-397528212241.78
2007• Ryan Grant, G.B.13-39561458188.117
2007Laurence Maroney, N.E.16-08351166137.133
2008• Chris Johnson, Ten.13-31,22826010251.811
2009Joseph Addai, Ind.14-282833613250.57
2009• Pierre Thomas, N.O.13-37933028196.519
2009LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D.13-373015412180.424
2010• Michael Turner, Atl.13-31,3718512229.614
2010• BenJarvus Green-Ellis, N.E.14-21,0088513199.319
2011Darren Sproles, N.O.13-360371010277.35
2011• Frank Gore, S.F.13-31,2111148197.517
2011BenJarvus Green-Ellis, N.E.13-366715911157.628
2011Ryan Grant, G.B.15-15592683119.737
2012Michael Turner, Atl.13-380012811177.822
2012Willis McGahee, Den.13-37312214147.228
2013Knowshon Moreno, Den.13-31,03854813296.64
2013Marshawn Lynch, Sea.13-31,25731614277.35
2015David Johnson, Ariz.13-358145713217.87
2015Jonathan Stewart, Car.15-1989997166.823
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.13-31,63136316327.42
2016LeGarrette Blount, N.E.14-21,1613818234.99
2017LeVeon Bell, Pitt.13-31,29165511345.62
2017• Dion Lewis, N.E.13-389621410203.013
2017• Jerick McKinnon, Min.13-35704215182.117
2017LeGarrette Blount, Phil.13-3766503109.645
2018Todd Gurley, LAR13-31,25158021374.13
2018Alvin Kamara, N.O.13-388370918354.24
2019Aaron Jones, G.B.13-31,08447419318.82
2019Alvin Kamara, N.O.13-37975336250.79
2019Mark Ingram, Balt.14-21,01824715246.510
2019Raheem Mostert, S.F.13-377218010169.226
2020Aaron Jones, G.B.13-31,10435511258.95
2020Clyde Edwards-Helaire, K.C.14-28032975176.022
2020Devin Singletary, Buff.13-36872692145.632
2021Leonard Fournette, T.B.13-481245410255.66
2021• Aaron Jones, G.B.13-479939110231.011
2022Christian McCaffrey, S.F.13-41,13974113356.72
2022Dalvin Cook, Min.13-41,17329510245.810
2022• Miles Sanders, Phil.14-31,2697811220.715
2022• Jerick McKinnon, K.C.14-329151210198.320
2022Devin Singletary, Buff.13-38192806183.923

—Ian Allan

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