Players like Marlon Mack show us how easy it is for lines to blur between being a fantasy stud and actually being a great NFL player. Don’t get me wrong, Mack is a solid running back in the NFL. However, he doesn’t really do anything that sticks out on film rather than consistently taking what is handed to him.
Running behind PFF’s BEST offensive line in the league, Mack was able to take advantage of prostitute-sized holes in a run heavy offense this past season. Understanding that any U-Haul driver could rush for 800 yards behind this offensive line, the Colts decided to draft Mack’s replacement during the offseason of his contract year.
Indianapolis selected top collegiate prospect Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. It’s no secret that Taylor possesses much more talent and upside than Mack. Many big-name analysts, including the Fantasy Footballers, believe that Taylor has league-winning upside and should be drafted in the third round or higher in fantasy leagues.
Although it seems like Taylor has landed into a near-perfect situation, this ADP is too rich for my blood.
In order for this gamble to pay off, Taylor will have to quickly take control of the Colts’ backfield and basically kick Mack to the curb. He will have to do this with limited offseason work and no pre-season games to help him adjust to the NFL level. Mack realizes that this is his last year to prove his worth, so he will have to do everything in his power to provide useful touches. Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni actually mentioned that Taylor and Mack will be a “1-1 punch,” insinuating the two backs will form a committee.
Many believe Taylor will see production through the air with Philip “Dump-off” Rivers at the helm. After all, it seems like every running back that he’s ever played was a beast in PPR leagues. Taylor wasn’t much of a receiver in college, but scouts believe his intangibles will allow him to excel as a receiver in the pros. The main issue with his potential in the receiving game is that it will be capped by Nyheim Hines’ presence. The speedy scatback is reminiscent of a Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead or Austin Ekeler-type player and very well could become Rivers’ safety net out of the backfield.
Taylor will eventually be the Colts workhorse running back. However, this season will be an uphill battle. He will have to adjust quickly due to COVID-19 complications, and will also have to make each touch worth it in a loaded backfield. It will most likely take too many weeks for Taylor to carve out a fantasy RB2 level role in the Colts offense to make this gamble worth it. You’re better off either drafting him if he falls, or swinging a trade for him at the mid-season mark. Taylor will eat one day, it’s just a matter of guessing when that day will come.
BANNER: Wikimedia Commons; Josh Hallett