The injury to Jonathan Taylor is one of the biggest pieces of fantasy football news heading into Week 5 of the 2022 NFL season. Let’s examine the latest news surrounding Taylor’s ankle injury and what it means for fantasy managers going forward on a short week for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.
Update: The Indianapolis Colts have officially ruled Jonathan Taylor OUT for their game against the Denver Broncos Thursday night.
Jonathan Taylor Injury Update Heading Into Week 5
Taylor left the game against the Titans in the fourth quarter. He did not return to the game and will be evaluated early in Week 5 to determine the severity. The initial analysis of the injury was fears of a high ankle sprain, but on Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Taylor’s tests were negative.
In the immediacy, the Colts are set to face the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in Week 5. This news now gives Taylor a chance to suit up and play against the Broncos. However, if he does play, Taylor would be severely limited and likely used in just certain situations. That would seriously cap any fantasy value he could provide managers in Week 5.
Instead, fantasy managers need to be considering where they can turn on the waiver wire this week. Let’s examine the potential options.
Are Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson, or Phillip Lindsay Waiver Wire Options in Week 5?
Heading into the Week 5 waiver wire period, Nyheim Hines has become a must-add. The problem is that it’s hard to envisage him being the direct replacement for Taylor. Hines has handled double-digit carries just four times in his career. Additionally, he’s played more than 50 percent of the snaps just 10 times in his five-year career.
Hines has played 60% of the snaps just once since 2018, which came in Week 12 of the 2020 season. In that game, the Tennessee Titans jumped out to a 35-14 lead at the half, and the Colts were playing catchup throughout the game. That was also the last time that Hines handled double-digit carries in a game.
This injury to Taylor could mean we see an expanded role from the eight rushing attempts and 19 targets we have seen for Hines so far in 2022. However, it would not be wise to view him as a direct replacement for Taylor’s touches if he misses time. Hines is still someone we should look to add, even with the positive news in terms of Taylor’s ankle. There is still a chance Taylor does not play Thursday, which means Hines would have increased value.
The other names in this backfield to consider are Deon Jackson and Phillip Lindsay. Jackson is listed third on the Colts’ depth chart but has seen very few opportunities in the last two years. He has just two rushing attempts this season and 15 in his two-year career. Yet, his body type more closely matches that of Taylor’s in terms of size, so he could be someone we see handling early-down and short-yardage work for the Colts.
If Taylor does end up missing a couple of weeks, we could see them either sign Lindsay from their practice squad or elevate him for the next couple of games. Lindsay’s style is a little more like that of Hines in that he fits best as a change-of-pace back who can work well in the receiving game. However, given what we’ve seen for the Colts when it comes to chasing games this year, that might be exactly what Indianapolis needs in order to rotate in with Hines over the next few weeks.
A 1-2 punch of Hines and Lindsay — with Jackson as the goal-line and short-yardage back — is a very realistic prospect. The problem is that a committee like that sucks the fantasy value out of everyone involved.
Hines is the immediate must-add in all leagues, while Lindsay and Jackson are deeper-league options. However, the investment for fantasy managers should be significantly less if Taylor is projected to either miss no time at all or, at most, a game or two.