2. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor is the one back who could be elevated to a starter immediately, but what is making us pause is the presence of workhorse, Marlon Mack. In recent years, Mack has had injuries but will often play through them. The general rule with Mack is if he’s active, you play him. With Taylor in the room, that’s no longer the case. But Mack is in a contract year so as long as he keeps getting carries, he is not going anywhere.
It reminds me of when the Saints had Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Both backs benefitted each other, but you rarely saw them on the field together. It’s unlikely they do it in Indianapolis too where they ran just 39 (3.8 percent) plays in two-back formations.
Think about what else the Colts are installing. They have Philip Rivers as their new quarterback, another stud rookie in Michael Pittman, Trey Burton as a complimentary tight end to Jack Doyle. Last season, Colts OC Nick Sirianni liked 11 (62 percent), 12 (26 percent), and 13 (7 percent) personnel groupings to create 1:1 matchups.
Of their 471 rushing attempts, 54 percent happened in 11 personnel, compared to 41 percent with the latter two groupings. That gives you an idea of where you’ll see Taylor. But where’s the confidence in taking Taylor over Mack?
Taylor is a complete back who rushed for over 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns at Wisconsin and that earned him two consecutive Doak Walker awards for the nation’s best running back. He is elusive and explosive in the open field. Size-wise he’s fits the prototypical size and stature desired at 5-10, 226 lbs. as compared to Mack who stands taller and is lighter. Both backs will be productive, but Taylor will be difficult to hold off.
Recommendation: Target as an RB3 in dynasty, redraft, PPR, and STD leagues in Rounds 5-8. I would wait on Taylor as a DFS option until he becomes a regular starter.