Jonathan Taylor’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Can the Colts RB Stay Healthy in 2024?

Is Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor poised for his second career elite RB1 season? Should fantasy managers target him in Best Ball drafts?

Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor is clearly an immense talent but has struggled to stay on the field each of the past two seasons. In his second year with head coach Shane Steichen, and hopefully, the first fully healthy campaign for QB Anthony Richardson, should fantasy football managers be targeting Taylor in Best Ball drafts?

Jonathan Taylor’s 2024 Fantasy Outlook

Over the first two years of his career, Taylor framed fantasy managers’ minds with his elite performance. He averaged 16.9 fantasy points per game as a rookie and 22.0 as a sophomore, finishing as the overall RB1. Since that infamous 2021 season, we’ve been waiting and hoping for that JT to return. We’ve seen flashes but never the sustained elite production.

The past two seasons for Taylor have been marred by injury. He missed six games in 2022 and seven games in 2023 while being limited in several more. This led to Taylor averaging 13.3 points per game and 15.6 points per game the past two years, respectively.

A big part of Taylor’s success over his first two seasons was his efficiency. He averaged 5.0 and 5.5 yards per carry and scored 12 and 20 touchdowns. In the past two seasons, he’s scored a total of 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.5 and 4.4 yards per carry. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they aren’t elite.

Just 3.6% of Taylor’s carries went for 15+ yards, 37th in the league. He also averaged a mere 3.25 yards created per touch, 31st in the league. By comparison, in 2021, those numbers were 6.9%, ninth in the league, and 3.72, third in the league. Unsurprisingly, a host of other efficiency metrics were far superior in 2021 as well.

Another problem for Taylor has been the reduced passing game role he’s seen in this new offense. After seeing a 10.8% target share in 2022, Taylor was down to 7.6% last season. Combined with the lack of scoring and decreased efficiency, Taylor was merely good — not great — in 2023.

Should You Draft Taylor in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

There are two ways to look at Taylor’s last two seasons. On the one hand, you can discount his underperformance, attributing it to injuries. Additionally, you can give him a pass for the lack of quality quarterback play the past two years.

On the other hand, Taylor actually should’ve benefited as a receiver from QB Gardner Minshew last year. Richardson will be better for the Colts’ offense overall, but he’s not about to help Taylor’s target volume.

If anything, he’s more apt to steal touchdowns, making Taylor even more reliant on rushing yards and big plays.

Taylor is still immensely talented. He’s only 25 years old and plays in an offense that should have a consolidated touch distribution. If he can stay healthy, he should safely exceed 16 fantasy points per game in 2024.

Although Taylor’s lack of receiving work lowers his weekly floor, we’ve seen the game-breaking upside, most notably in Week 18 of the 2023 season when Taylor ripped off 196 yards against the Houston Texans, scoring 27.6 fantasy points. At his best, specifically in 2021, we saw Taylor top 27 fantasy points four times.

Ultimately, whether you should draft Taylor comes down to price. If he remains inside the top 18 players, I just can’t get behind that. He’s not so clearly better than the handful of running backs going after him that you should make it a point to draft him.

KEEP READING: Best Ball Stacking Strategy

But if Taylor drops into the back half of the second round, meaning you can pair him with one of the truly elite receivers, he suddenly becomes quite the appealing selection.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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