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Running Back Fallers for Fantasy Football - ADP Analysis before Training Camps

Isiah Pacheco - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Rookies

Ah, our old friend, ADP. Average Draft Position indicates the mean position where a player is drafted over more than one fantasy football draft. You can consider it as the price you have to pay to draft and get a player on your team. A high ADP (that is actually a low-numbered ADP) means that a player is getting off draft boards early, and thus you'll need to draft him in the first rounds if you truly want him.

Low or high ADP values, though, are not gospel. Each of us fantasy GMs has our strategies and values players differently depending on what we think is the most important for them to have in terms of abilities. No matter what, ADPs are good to know how the "average value" of the "average GM" you'll be drafting against is for each asset (in this case, the players). By now, with free agency and the draft well finalized and just a few players left to be signed, it makes sense to go look at how ADPs are varying during the last month as we get closer to peak draft season.

In this series, I’ll highlight players at each skill position every few days that are seeing significant fluctuation from where they were the last time we check to where they are getting drafted now using data from FFPC drafts.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Fantasy Football Running Backs - ADP Fallers

Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook, Free Agents

I'm bunching these two together because they find themselves in a very similar situation. Of course, Zeke has been through the full free agency season while Cook has just entered it, but by the looks of it, everything points toward a slow-cooked process for the now-former Viking if he doesn't lower his salary demands.

Elliott, in fact, got released super early by the Cowboys but we haven't heard much news about him and his future in the league in the past few weeks, with the latest reports talking about a potential return to Dallas if both parties can agree to a lower-salary pact. Obviously, Jerry Jones loves Zeke and Zeke has only known the Cowboys organization, so the interest would be mutual in a perfect world and there is a big chance both sides end up finding some common middle ground.

Dalvin Cook has followed the same path, only on a slightly delayed timeline with his release coming at the start of June. For fantasy purposes strictly, these two should be safe bets no matter where they land. Whoever ends up paying to bring them aboard won't be paying millions just to land a flashy super-reserve rusher.

Elliott and Cook will be bonafide RB1-type rushers next year no matter which backfield they enter. That alone should keep you alert and hunting for them come draft day. None is going to sit out, both will be on the field by the time Week 1 arrives, and both are way undervalued by ADP these days.

Anything below 60th-OVR would turn Zeke into a bargain pick. Anything below 40th would do the same for Cook. You know what to do.


Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

While not a beast on the field in his rookie year last season, Pacheco did more than most expected in the Chiefs backfield overtaking a super-prospect in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and taking full possession of KC's running-back room with relative ease as the season progressed.

Even though the bulk of his production came from Week 10 on, Pacheco still reached 139 PPR points in 2022 for an RB37 finish in such a format. Not bad considering he was a no-factor for the first half of the campaign. It'd be unreasonable to expect something like a simple pro-rating/doubling of production under a full-time workload next year just by default, but hitting RB2-levels of play isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Pacheco's drop has to do with his health, though. The sophomore has undergone surgeries on his hand and shoulder after last season, something confirmed in May by HC Andy Reid. There is no timetable for his return at this point and into the second half of June with a month before training camps and two more for the start of the season.

Drafting Pacheco at his current ADP around 80th overall is a little too rich and risky for my blood considering his shaky health situation. If the price keeps tanking to no end, it might make sense to throw a late-round flier his way in anticipation of what he might do once he's back on the field. If not, then I'd advise fading him and only considering Pacheco as a post-draft prime WW target.

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