Should You Start Nyheim Hines vs. the Broncos? Fantasy Outlook for Colts Running Back

Jonathan Taylor sprained his ankle in Week 4 and is out this week. Does Nyheim Hines become a must-start against the Broncos?

The deeper we get into the season, the more hesitant I am about starting players on Thursday night. This week, we have the Broncos hosting the Colts. Last week, Jonathan Taylor sprained his ankle and is out this week. What does this mean for Nyheim Hines’ fantasy football value this week, and should you start him against the Colts on Thursday night?

Nyheim Hines’ Fantasy Outlook Against the Broncos

Every year, fantasy managers draft Nyheim Hines as an RB4. Every year, his usage just doesn’t change.

Last season, Hines averaged 6.6 PPR fantasy points per game. Through four weeks, Hines is averaging 7.4 ppg this season. He’s an RB4. That’s just who he is…under normal conditions. In Week 5, Hines is firmly in the RB2 conversation.

We Don’t Have Much Data on Nyheim Hines Without Jonathan Taylor, but…

We do have one game. Of course, a one-game sample size is not something we should weigh too much, but it’s the only data we have, and it’s not nothing.

MORE: Week 5 Running Back Start/Sit

In 2020, Taylor missed one game due to Covid. In that game, Hines played a season-high 64% of the snaps. He ran a season-high 31 routes, saw a season-high 10 targets, caught a season-high eight receptions, and scored 17.5 fantasy points.

Nyheim Hines Is the Most Trusted Running Back Behind Jonathan Taylor

Hines is not built to be a feature back. He will never be a consistent 15+ touch player. Even so, his work will undoubtedly increase if Taylor doesn’t play.

Behind Hines is 2021 UDFA Deon Jackson and practice squad call-up Phillip Lindsay. Both will be involved and likely get carries, but we can reasonably project Hines to lead this backfield in touches.

The Broncos Are a Bad Matchup for Receiving Backs

I will start with some positive data. Matt Ryan targets running backs at a 23.3% clip. That’s roughly the eighth-highest rate in the league.

Unfortunately, the Broncos do not surrender targets to running backs. Their opponents throw to the running back just 14.6% of the time, the fifth-lowest rate in the league. They allow just 27.25 receiving yards per game to running backs. The Broncos allow 18.5 ppg to running backs, which is the sixth-fewest in the league.

Should Fantasy Managers Start Nyheim Hines?

The answer to this question comes down to Taylor’s status. Taylor did not practice all week. He is the Colts’ franchise running back. They will not take any chances. Taylor is out this week.

The good news for Taylor managers is this ankle injury does not sound serious. He should be back in Week 6. For Week 5, it’s going to be Hines as the main guy.

MORE: Who are Week 5 must-add fantasy players?

Hines comes in as a low RB2 in our Week 4 running back rankings. If you drafted Hines, this is the exact scenario you were hoping to benefit from at some point throughout the season.

It’s certainly plausible that Hines can’t get into lineups in shallower leagues. But wherever I have him, I’m starting him. When setting your lineup ahead of TNF, feel free to look at your opponents and show ’em your Hiney!

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