Marlon Mack’s fantasy outlook and projection for 2021

Coming back of an Achilles injury in 2021, what is Marlon Mack's fantasy outlook, and does his current ADP present a value in drafts?

A torn Achilles tendon derailed the 2020 season of Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack. He entered last year’s training camp as a legitimate threat to rookie Jonathan Taylor. Mack was even named the starter for Week 1 before the ruptured Achilles ended his season and changed the fantasy football outlook for Taylor and Nyheim Hines. What is Mack’s fantasy outlook and ADP in 2021?

Marlon Mack’s fantasy outlook for 2021

The Colts re-signed Mack to a one-year, $2 million contract. His explosion is something to monitor this summer coming off a serious injury like an Achilles — that’s a challenging injury to return from for an NFL player. According to various medical websites, professional football players need around 11 months to return to play. Mack is unlikely to be provided significant opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) this season.

The genie has been let out of the bottle in Indianapolis

Taylor is projected to be deployed in the workhorse role in 2021. He entered last season as one of the most exhilarating rookies. He produced three consecutive seasons (2017 to 2019) of 2,000+ total yards for the Wisconsin Badgers. Furthermore, Taylor had 61 rushing attempts of 10+ yards in each of his three collegiate seasons.

Taylor was gradually worked into the Colts’ RB rotation in 2020. From Weeks 1 to 10, he only played 45% of the team’s offensive snaps. Taylor averaged just 15.2 opportunities, 70.2 total yards, and 12 PPR fantasy points per game.

He went nuclear in Weeks 11 to 17 as the Colts allowed him to transition to boss mode. Taylor played 61% of the team’s offensive snaps during that time frame, averaging 22.7 opportunities, 139.5 total yards, and an impressive 24.3 PPR fantasy ppg. He finished as an RB1 in five out of six games.

Taylor has all of the essential tools to be a top-tier three-down NFL running back. He rushed for 1,169 yards and scored 11 touchdowns while averaging 5 yards per rushing attempt. The only RB with more rushes of 15+ yards last season than Taylor (14) was Derrick Henry (21). The Colts also have an excellent offensive line.

Indianapolis’ offensive line was set to have continuity in 2021

The Colts return four starters from what has been one of the NFL’s top offensive lines over the last few seasons. Indianapolis has adequate depth at the tackle position and also inside at center and guard.

Unfortunately, injuries to Quenton Nelson and Ben Kelly have hampered the preparation of that line. Nelson could miss somewhere around a month or two of the season potentially, while Kelly is expected to be back to start the season, barring setbacks.

Mack is essentially an insurance policy on Taylor

Mack is unlikely to have any standalone value. He will also be competing with Hines and Jordan Wilkins for touches. Hines finished as the RB15 last season in PPR formats. He only had 380 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns but caught an inconceivable 63 of 76 targets for 482 receiving yards and 4 more scores. Hines is projected for the second-largest opportunity share at the running back position on the Colts for 2021.

Carson Wentz will miss time due to surgery

Adding to the Colts’ injury woes is the injury to Wentz. The Colts QB has a similar injury to Nelson that requires surgery. He could be back to start the season, but more likely he will miss at least a few weeks. This likely has a negative impact on the running game, especially if teams decide to stack the box early in the season.

Fantasy projection

Mack was once a rising young talent for the Colts. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and scored 16 touchdowns during the 2018 and 2019 seasons combined. Mack averaged nearly 19 opportunities per game during that span. He is projected for around 55 rushing attempts, 250 rushing yards, and 1 touchdown in 2021. Additionally, he could see 6 targets, 4 receptions, and 35 receiving yards as a receiver out of the backfield.

Marlon Mack’s ADP

Mack is readily available in the 12th round when you review redraft ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. However, in pay-to-play fantasy formats such as the National Fantasy Championship, Mack has an ADP of 215.98 as the RB62 overall. Meanwhile, his ADP in PPR formats on Sleeper is 223.

Should you draft Mack in 2021?

I would not recommend drafting Mack. He has a very low ceiling in the Colts offense this season. The backup running back to target is Hines. He will be deployed as a change-of-pace option for the Colts and is a capable receiver.

If Taylor were to miss time, Hines’ role would remain the same, but Mack would split touches with Wilkins.

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