Hold Your Horses: Jonathan Taylor
We all witnessed the ascension of Jonathan Taylor last season as he burst onto the scene securing his position as one of the premier fantasy Running Backs. I’m fully on board with him being ranked as a RB1 after a finish of RB6 in full PPR formats. There’s no doubt about his abilities after that impressive rookie campaign but let’s pump the breaks on the ridiculous hype that some of the fantasy community is bestowing on the former Wisconsin Badger.
I’ve seen him ranked as high as RB2 behind only Christian McCaffrey and yes, that was for redraft! Taylor currently has a consensus rank of RB6 which I think is premature for the 2020 41st overall pick. Yes, he’s a beast and has the skill set of a true workhorse but he won’t get that workhorse workload with Nyheim Hines sure to keep a sizable receiving role and former starter Marlon Mack re-signing to a fully guaranteed $2 million contract.
The reasoning behind ranking him over the likes of guys like Kamara, Cook, Barkley, Henry, Chubb, Elliott or Ekeler is that Taylor will have an even larger role than that of his rookie season. That’s fair considering that he only had seven games with more than 13 carries but that was without Mack in the picture. I think people forgot how effective Mack was when he was the lead back (RB22 in 14 games in 2019) and they don’t think about the fact that Hines is a premier pass-catching back who finished as the RB15 in his own right in 2020 with the third most receptions at his position with 63.
I’m not saying Taylor is in danger of losing his job or anything of the sort, I’m saying that we need to look at his numbers and situation objectively. He had an amazing fantasy playoffs as the RB1 from weeks 14-17 averaging a whopping 27 PPR points per game for a total of 107.8 points in that four game span. Nearly half of his season total of 252.8 points came in the final month! That’s crazy and most definitely the reason for his hype train getting ahead of themselves. He won countless fantasy owners championships and is carrying that excitement into this season’s rankings.
If you look at his numbers from weeks 1-13 they’re much more normal or even pedestrian, dropping from 16.9 to 13.2 points per game and dropping 10 spots down to RB16 in that span. That’s eerily similar to Mack’s numbers the previous year.
Taylor had a very similar season to Chicago’s David Montgomery as they both dominated down the stretch. Montgomery actually outperformed Taylor finishing as the RB4 but has a consensus ranking of RB18 with an ADP of #34. That’s significantly lower than that of Taylor and most likely that’s because Taylor is the new, exciting RB. People are willing to overpay searching for “the next big thing” as if they’re getting a bargain but they’re actually paying for his ceiling and taking him over proven veteran workhorses.
Indy also isn’t the same team as last year with the addition of Carson Wentz and the retirement of star offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and Philip Rivers so that makes Taylor even more of a risk at his current ADP of #8 as there are a lot of question marks around this sophomore back. I see JT as a solid low end RB1 or very high end RB2 with upside. Go with a proven top 5 stud instead of hopping on the hype train because most fantasy analysts are excited.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay true.
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