2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Jonathan Taylor

by Mike LaPlant
Jonathan Taylor - 2021 Dynasty Football

Welcome to the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile series. We're rolling out a series of posts on players entering their second year in the NFL. Last week I kicked things off by talking about Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, the RB16 according to our F6P consensus rankings. This week our focus will be on the RB4, with the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Jonathan Taylor.

Only two other RB's were selected before Taylor in the draft, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and D'Andre Swift. But Taylor finished ahead of both of them in Fantasy Points for their rookie campaigns. He finished as the No. 6 PPR ranked RB for 2020, and the only rookie RB to finish as an RB1.

One of the bigger offseason moves this year was the Indianapolis Colts trading for Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Colts gave up a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick to acquire the quarterback after Philip Rivers retired. Is this the reunion that Frank Reich and Wentz have been waiting for?

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2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Jonathan Taylor

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Rookie Campaign

When you look at the overall rookie year of Jonathan Taylor you think to yourself that this is the guy to own for years to come in Dynasty Fantasy Football formats. As I said above he finished as the No. 6 RB in PPR formats according to Fantasy Pros, just edging out Antonio Gibson (RB13) for the only rookie to finish as an RB1.

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But when you break down his year by the games it was a very inconsistent year for the rookie per his snap share. In seven of his games, he had less than a 50% snap percentage. Then in seven other games, he received a 55%-69% snap share. This was obviously his more productive scoring, averaging 19 Fantasy Points per game.

He only surpassed 70% of the snap share just once all year, and it was in week 17 against the Jaguars' horrid run defense when he scored 38.4 Fantasy Points. When Taylor was given the opportunity he dominated with his touches. But he will have to continue to fight for touches against Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines.

Offseason Change of Scenery

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We already touched on one of the few offseason moves the Colts made this year that will affect Fantasy Football managers this year. That was the trade for Carson Wentz that reunites him and Frank Reich, with whom Wentz was on pace for an MVP award. A move that they saw necessary after the news of Philip Rivers retiring. In a two-year span, Miles Sanders was targeted 105 times by Wentz on the Eagles. This will be an upgrade to Taylor's measly 39 targets he received in 2020 as long as he gets the full workload.

Philip Rivers wasn't the only player who retired for the Colts this offseason. Starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo also decided to hang up the cleats after a successful 10-year career with the Colts. Even after that loss to the offensive line, RotoWire still has them rated as the #1 offensive line going into 2021.

They might have solved that problem with the signing of 30-year-old former Kansas City Chief left tackle Eric Fisher after the draft. He's coming off a torn Achilles which he suffered during the AFC Championship game. However, the Colts are confident he will give them the majority of a season as long as his rehab goes well. The sooner he returns to form the sooner Jonathan Taylor will have a complete offensive line.

Some other minor news was the re-signing of T.Y Hilton. It's not a big move but should help Taylor see less loaded boxes because of Wentz's willingness to throw it deep. The quicker Wentz and Hilton build a rapport down the field, the faster you will see the repercussions in Fantasy Points for Jonathan Taylor.

2021 Role

The expectations from fantasy managers are high heading into the 2021 season for Taylor. Even after the re-signing of Marlon Mack and the disruption Nyheim Hines causes, Taylor is expected to be THE guy in Indy. The Colts spent second-round draft capital last year to get this kid out of Wisconsin. With that said, should we expect Mack and Hines to eat into Taylor's total volume?

After one year it looks like Frank Reich doesn't want to wear down the second-year RB after his massive workload in college. He's shown he can handle the full workload in a couple of games last year and dominated with the opportunity. But it will ultimately come down to the way Reich wants to use him.

Barring any injury (like what happened to Marlon Mack early last year) Jonathan Taylor has the easiest path to finishing as an RB2 to on the year. He just won't receive the amount of volume we as Fantasy Managers love to see our backs get. It seems like we will be making any excuse to see Taylor out on the field more.

Potential Speed-Bumps

Carson Wentz will be the biggest problem for this offense and for Jonathan Taylor, along with the offensive line adjusting to the addition of Eric Fisher. But if this offense decides to implode it will be at the hands of Wentz returning to last year's form. The other minor speed-bump will be catching Fisher back up with the offensive line when he finishes his rehab from the torn Achilles.

The obvious problems with Taylor's Fantasy Football production this year will be the roles of Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. Mack is only on a one-year prove-it deal so long term he shouldn't be the problem. If Taylor starts eating into the 78 targets that Hines received in 2020, then he will ascend to RB1 status once again.

Wrapping It Up

At the end for the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Jonathan Taylor, after hearing how well he dominated run defenses when he receives 55%+ of the snap share he is about as safe as young running backs go. If you read last week's article I mentioned how Cam Akers had initially had the highest rushing total in a game for a rookie with 29 carries for 171 yards. Well, it was shattered in Week 17 by Taylor with 253 rushing yards.

He was on the field for a season-high 82% and received a season-high 30 carries to help boast his best outing of the year. Although, it's fairly too common in today's NFL to have an RB committee. Even though Reich will look to go with a hot hand/committee approach with this backfield. Taylor should be efficient enough to break through and separate himself  from the pack as the true RB1 of the team.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

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