In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
We never celebrate injuries. We never wish for players to get hurt and risk losing playing time or even their careers. For Jonathan Taylor, his talent and pedigree were never in question. It was only a matter of time before he got his chance. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Marlon Mack and his season-ending injury in Week 1. For Taylor, this cemented his role as an elite fantasy asset, and his usage and performance in Week 2 should signify great things to come.
Indianapolis Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor will be stepping into a starting role going forward, confirmed by Colts head coach Frank Reich. Taylor was not able to do much on the ground last week, picking up only 22 yards on nine carries. However, he was able to show that he can be an asset in the passing game, grabbing six balls for 67 yards. Marlon Mack’s (Achilles) injury has given Taylor the opportunity to see more of the workload rather than splitting carries. He will be facing a Minnesota Vikings Defense that allowed 158 yards and one touchdown on the ground last week. Reich confirmed that Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins will also be part of the mix, but Taylor getting the nod should give him solid RB2 value this week against a Vikings team that struggled against the run in Week 1.
I don’t throw around the phrase “generational talent” lightly. However, Taylor is not just any ordinary running back. His college pedigree is well documented, and his 4.39 speed at 226 pounds is legitimate. He has no injury history, has shown a willingness and ability to shoulder a heavy load, and is a better pass catcher than many people think. TJ Calkins tabbed Taylor as the perfect running back prospect even before the NFL combine.
Oh, and snagging an athletic comp to someone like LaDanian Tomlinson is a nice bonus as well. We got a chance to see Taylor unleashed in Week 2 and likely caught a glimpse of how the Colts will operate their offense moving forward.
For Taylor owners, Hines was extremely annoying in Week 1. He was supposedly a pass-catching specialist; he rushed seven times and scored a touchdown and then tacked eight receptions for another score. However, even with Mack’s absence, Hines found himself stripped almost entirely of any meaningful snaps. In Week 2, he recorded one touch.
Taylor, on the other hand, topped 100 yards rushing on 26 attempts in Week 2. He even added in a pair of receptions. Also, in Week 1, Taylor reeled in six receptions of his own. Philip Rivers is the king of checking down to his running backs, as we’ve seen throughout his career with the Chargers. Through two weeks, Rivers has targeted the running back position 20 times out of 71 passing attempts. That’s a 28% target share for the position.
Running Back Strength of Schedule – Weeks 3-6
Looking ahead to the next few weeks, the Colts running backs have slightly better-than-average matchups. Taylor is locked into a high-volume role and offers more than enough pass-catching chops to provide that coveted mix of high floor/ceiling for fantasy owners. Taylor falls into the category of players that I would “buy high,” but the price will only increase further, making now the perfect opportunity.