Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Outlook Offers Boom-or-Bust Value Alongside Marlon Mack

Jonathan Taylor's fantasy football outlook makes him a high-risk, high-reward option.
Jonathan Taylor's fantasy football outlook makes him a high-risk, high-reward option. / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Jonathan Taylor hype train officially left the station once he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 NFL Draft. It's not hard to see why. Taylor is a physical freak who just so happens to be one of the most productive collegiate running backs in recent memory. Now running behind the Indianapolis Colts' elite offensive line, he absolutely has the potential for a monster 2020 campaign.

However, the presence of Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines could put a damper on that hype.

Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Football Value

Taylor is currently being drafted much higher than Mack, carrying an average draft position (ADP) of RB22 compared to Mack's RB40. That actually makes Mack a significantly better value than Taylor, though admittedly Taylor does have a much higher ceiling.

And there's definitely reason to believe Taylor can reach that ceiling.

For one, Indianapolis graded out as the league's second-best run-blocking unit in 2019. Watching the 5-foot-10, 227-pound Taylor use his 4.39 speed behind a line that good could be terrifying. Running behind essentially the same group, Mack finished as RB22 in PPR formats in 2019 despite missing two games and offering little-to-no value as a pass-catcher.

That's another area that will be crucial for Taylor's fantasy production. In his final season at Wisconsin, Taylor caught more passes (26) than Mack ever has during an NFL season. He also drew rave reviews as a receiver throughout the pre-draft process.

The bulk of the targets out of the backfield will unfortunately be going to Hines, but Philip Rivers targets running backs often enough to offset some of those concerns. Just last season, Rivers funneled 108 targets toward Austin Ekeler and still managed to look at Melvin Gordon 55 times. Both finished top 10 among RBs in targets per game.

Clearly the most talented back on the team, it could be really frustrating to own Taylor and watch him lose work to Hines and Mack. But if either back gets injured, or Taylor earns the lion's share of the work, he absolutely has top-10 upside. Buyer beware, though, as he might not see enough volume to be more than an RB2 or FLEX option.

That boom-or-bust potential could make him a great target in best ball drafts, though. In best ball leagues, fantasy managers benefit from the blowup games without struggling through the inevitable down weeks.

We currently have Taylor ranked as the RB26 in our 2020 rankings.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.