Indianapolis Colts 2021 Fantasy Soccer Preview: RB Jonathan Taylor
Today we’re continuing our Indianapolis Colts 2021 fantasy football profiles with Jonathan Taylor in the second year of running back.
The college record breaker spent his rookie season racking up the third most rushing yards in the NFL, but he still has his doubters for 2021.
Let’s dive in.
Average draft position and position rankings from FantasyPros. Projections are based on traditional PPR scoring constellations.
RB Jonathan Taylor
- Current ADP – 6.0
- Current position rank – RB7
- 2021 strength of the schedule – 4. Easiest
- 2020 – 15 games, 232 porters, 1,169 yards (avg 5.0), 11 TDs, 36 receptions (39 targets), 299 yards (8.3 avg), 1 TD, 1 FL
- Average per game – 15.5 carries, 77.9 yards, 0.7 TD, 2.4 receptions (2.6 targets), 19.9 yards, 0.1 TD, 0.1 FL
With the current fantasy drafts being a fixture on the first round, people have shared their concerns about how much of the workload in the Colts’ backfield will share with Taylor. After all, when you’re spending that type of draft capital on a position as flat as running back, you want him to be “the man” for his team.
To be fair, the Colts have a deep group of running backs, including Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack, and Jordan Wilkins. However, it’s the same cast of characters in 2021 as it was in 2020, with the exception of a “healthy” Mack, but he comes from an Achilles injury.
Taylor dominated the backfield snaps and touches as a rookie, overtaking the closest backs by 168 snaps and 116 touches. Including the postseason, Taylor had six games with at least 20 touches.
While other Colts Tailbacks will have their roles, the Colts view Taylor as their top dog in the backfield, so it’s probably a good idea for us in the fantasy community too. Colts head coach Frank Reich even said so this off-season when he said Taylor deserved the right to be the team’s starting running back.
Strength of the schedule
The only other major concern fantasy players have had about Taylor is that he was betting the majority of his numbers against a weak 2020 schedule.
Between week 11 and the last game of the Colts in the wild card round of the playoffs, Taylor had the second most rushing yards in the NFL behind Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans. With the exception of the Green Bay Packers (13th), the five teams Taylor charged at least 90 yards in 2020 all ended up in the top 10 of the league in running defense.
However, he had games of 150 yards with two touchdowns against the Las Vegas Raiders in week 14 and a franchise record of 253 yards and two scores against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 17. You exploit a weak schedule and then there is dominance.
Did Taylor get a few cheap yards against bad defenses? Sure, but his 2021 schedule is currently ranked the fourth easiest among NFL running backs, so the forecast for year two looks just as good.
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Productive wherever he was
If a player shows you what they can do over a long period of time, believe it. In college in Wisconsin, it could be argued that no other college football player was as adept as Taylor.
After consecutive 2,000 yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, Taylor finished his college career second in Big Ten history at Rushing Yards (6,174) and sixth in FBS history. He was a Consensus First-Team All-American and the Doak Walker Award winner in both years.
Taylor accomplished a great deal as a college player, entering the NFL and finishing third in the league as a rookie, collecting 1,468 yards with 12 touchdowns before scrimmage. He shattered the story that he couldn’t catch the ball (no drops until week 17) or protect it (a fumble).
Things that were clearly an issue for Taylor early in the year, like his vision and determination, were no longer an issue as the season progressed and significant progress could be seen. While he once looked like a rookie just doing his job, he transformed back into the athletic, powerful player with natural running skills that he was in Wisconsin
Overall, Taylor ended the season as the Fantasy RB6, despite spending two games behind for performance and then missing a game two weeks later while on the COVID-19 list.
It may put people off drawing Taylor up to the top 10 in fantasy drafts, but there aren’t many players in his position who are as capable of what he could export.
Are you planning to address Taylor in your fantasy drafts? Write your thoughts in the comment section below!
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