Jonathan Taylor had an excellent college career at Wisconsin. He totaled 6,174 rushing yards in three college seasons, averaging over 2,000 yards per season in college. Taylor also scored 50 rushing touchdowns in his college career, and he displayed pass-catching skills as a junior, with 26 receptions for 252 yards and five touchdowns.
Therefore, Taylor was one of the top running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class. Eventually, the Colts selected Taylor with the 41st overall pick in the second round, making him the third running back off the board behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and D’Andre Swift. Dynasty owners considered the Colts a strong landing spot due to their solid offensive line and Philip Rivers’ tendency to incorporate running backs in the offense.
However, Taylor had some question marks to begin the 2020 season, as the Colts had incumbent starter Marlon Mack and pass-catcher Nyheim Hines on the roster. But, Mack tore his Achilles tendon in Week 1, opening the door for Taylor to take the starting role. Taylor sometimes lost work to Hines and Jordan Wilkins, although he compiled a successful rookie season. Here are Taylor’s full rookie year stats.
|Year||Games||Carries||Yards||YPC||TDs||Fantasy Rank||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
To put Taylor’s season into context, he finished third in rushing yards and fifth in rushing yards per game among all NFL running backs. Taylor’s 232 carries only ranked eighth, though, so he displayed far more efficiency than most other running backs. Considering that Taylor also outperformed expectations as a receiver, there’s no way to describe his rookie year other than a complete success.
In dynasty leagues, I currently rank Taylor as my RB2, behind only Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey remains my RB1, as he provides game-breaking fantasy upside that no other running back can offer. However, outside of McCaffrey, there’s nobody I’d rather have than Taylor. Taylor only turned 22 years old a couple of days ago, giving him a youth advantage over other high-end players like Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook.
Also, Taylor missed just one game in 2020, which happened because of a COVID-19 close-contact situation. Taylor has never had a severe injury, and that missed game was his first throughout his college and NFL career. Considering that Taylor has a history of workhorse carries, that injury history, or lack thereof, is rather impressive. Therefore, I have zero durability concerns with Taylor, so I rank him above Saquon Barkley.
Unfortunately, it seems like most dynasty owners agree with my assessment of Taylor’s value. At worst, I’ve seen him as the RB5, behind the four players mentioned previously. Some people even have Taylor as the RB1 and 1.01 overall. Therefore, it isn’t easy to trade for Taylor at this point. That ship probably sailed after his Week 17 explosion, where he had 253 yards and two touchdowns. If you have Taylor, hold him and ride his success. And if you don’t, remember Taylor’s rookie year as a lesson on buying talented but struggling rookie running backs midway through the season.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.