Who is Jonathan Taylor's Backup? Colts RB Handcuffs to Know for Fantasy Football
Jonathan Taylor was one of the top picks in fantasy football drafts this year following a monstrous 2021 campaign. Managers who spent premium capital to select Taylor are likely very happy given his workhorse role in the Indianapolis Colts' offense.
Indianapolis' run-heavy approach not only boosts Taylor's value, though. His backups could turn out to be week- or even league-winning handcuffs if Taylor misses any time and they take on that heightened load.
That's why everyone, not just Taylor managers, should know the ins and outs of the Colts' RB depth chart for the 2022 season.
Colts Running Back Depth Chart 2022
Following the cutdown to 53-man rosters, Indianapolis currently has three running backs in the mix. There's Taylor, who's coming off of a First Team All-Pro season where he led the league in rushing attempts (332), yards (1,811) and touchdowns (18). It was a breakout in just his second year, which makes managers giddy since he doesn't have the wear and tear concerns that come with older RBs.
Then there's veteran Nyheim Hines. This will be his fifth season with the Colts after the team originally selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He's featured more prominently as a pass-catcher than rusher during his tenure, and that won't likely change while Taylor is healthy.
Finally, Deon Jackson serves in the RB3 role for Indy. He was undrafted out of Duke in 2021 but caught on with the Colts an UDFA, suiting up in nine games for the team last year. He recorded 31 yards and 1 TD on 13 carries.
Who is Jonathan Taylor's Handcuff?
Jonathan Taylor's clear handcuff is Nyheim Hines. The latter is a talented and experienced player in his own right, but his role will always be limited in the run game as long as Taylor is around. However, he'd be the obvious in-house candidate to assume Taylor's workload should he be sidelined with an injury during the 2022 season.
Hines has gotten work on the ground despite Taylor's arrival two seasons ago. The veteran actually posted a career-high 89 carries, 380 yards and 3 TDs during Taylor's rookie year, but those numbers dropped across the board (56 / 276 / 2) in 2021.
It's still encouraging that Hines' rushing role hasn't completely been wiped out. Indianapolis is clearly comfortable deferring to him at times, and the lack of a true threat behind him on the depth chart shows confidence in him being able to step up if needed.
Hines' pass-catching abilities also give him standalone value, especially in PPR formats. He's averaged a notable 68.0 targets over his first four seasons, turning those into 52.5 receptions and 384.3 yards with seven total TDs. He even clocked in as the RB15 in 2020 thanks to recording 63 receptions, 482 yards and 4 TDs on 76 targets.
Colts coaches have talked this offseason about getting Hines more involved in the pass game, even using him as a wide receiver, which strengthens his status as a must-have bench piece. If he's able to boost his targets to his 2020 heights, then he has a path to a top-20 finish at his position in PPR even without a big role on the ground.
And should Taylor go down, Hines' stock would skyrocket as the Colts' RB1. He should be a priority target for any manager in the back half of the draft, and he'd be a smart trade target for any squad ahead of Week 1.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.