15 Second-Year Running Backs & Wide Receivers to Target in Fantasy Football
Sophomore Slump is a term that’s become part of our vernacular for many things such as albums, movies, television series, and what it actually originated from, collegiate studying. I’m baffled by its roots since most freshmen party too hard their first year and make an attempt to get it together by the time their sophomore year comes around, but maybe at some point, it was reversed.
In the sports world and for our fantasy football purposes, this term refers to players who come into the league hot and maybe fizzle out a bit and regress in Year 2. However, this article is not about those guys and will focus on the second-year running backs and receivers we should be targeting in our 2023 drafts. Thanks to a talented 2022 draft class, there are plenty to choose from.
For the third season in a row, all the talk going into last season was the depth of talent at the receiver position, which there was, but the rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft class held their own in their first seasons in the league. Here are some of the RBs in the best spots to succeed heading into their sophomore NFL campaigns.
I’m not including players in the top few rounds like Breece Hall or Ken Walker, as they've already broken out and drafters don’t need convincing to select them in 2023. Dameon Pierce is not someone I am targeting based on the addition of Devin Singletary in an entirely new coached offense, suggesting his workhorse role is likely to diminish. I’m out at his current Yahoo ADP of 4.08.
Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs
After starting out the year as Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s backup, Isiah Pacheco took over the lead-back role in Week 10 and posted RB17 numbers in half-PPR points down the stretch. The rookie ran for the fifth-most rushing yards from Weeks 10–18 (633), and he averaged 15.1 touches per game in that time frame which led the KC backfield and was 24th among RBs. Pacheco tied a bow on his rookie season with a 15-76-1 line in the Super Bowl which helped his team hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
After undergoing surgery this offseason for his shoulder and hand, Pacheco’s recovery is on track, and he’s set to assume starter duties with an increased workload in 2023. We could even see an uptick in his air game, as Pacheco’s six-reception tilt against the Bengals in the Conference Championship suggests it’s a possibility moving forward. As the lead back in a high-potent offense, the 24-year-old is an easy click in the sixth round as RB25.
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