Darwin Thompson Fantasy Value Could Explode After Passing Carlos Hyde on Chiefs' Depth Chart

Dan Israeli
Cincinnati Benglas v Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Benglas v Kansas City Chiefs /

Every year it's important to be on the lookout for the best backup running backs available in the later rounds of fantasy football drafts. It can be key to target guys who have the highest upside as handcuffs to the projected starters ahead of them, but there's also big value in the backs that already have value of their own heading into the season.

Combining those factors, Darwin Thompson of the Kansas City Chiefs is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing late-round fliers at the RB position. He was already making a lot of noise during camp, has impressed through two preseason games, and now has reportedly passed Carlos Hyde on the depth chart, placing him just behind starter Damien Williams.

Thompson was a sixth-round pick for the Chiefs in April's draft after playing one year at Utah State following a transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M. At 5'8", 200 pounds, Thompson profiles as a versatile receiving back, thanks to his quick burst, agility and adeptness in the passing game. He was not invited to the NFL Combine, but impressed at his Pro Day. He also averaged 6.8 yards per carry last season at Utah State, leading the Mountain West division with 5.1 yards after contact per rush.

Clearly, Thompson has all the makings of a viable change-of-pace back in the NFL, and he should fit in very well in the Chiefs' elite offense. Patrick Mahomes' value should remain sky-high this upcoming season, as the team has added two electric play-making rookies in Thompson and second-round receiver Mecole Hardman out of Georgia.

As for Thompson's 2019 fantasy value, he has an average draft position (ADP) of RB54 (156 overall), meaning he is still basically free in drafts. That cost doesn't capture his legit upside, especially when you consider how vague coach Andy Reid has been about Williams' role this season.

Even if Williams maintains his status as starter, Thompson has a chance to offer flex value in deeper PPR leagues. The uncertainty at the top of the depth chart adds in the kind of upside that can make Thompson worth targeting in any format.

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