It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the running backs. Today, we take a look at Jonathan Taylor, who finished last year as the RB1, and should be, at worst, the third running back off the board in your fantasy leagues. Let’s take a look at Jonathan Taylor and his 2022 fantasy football prospects!
Jonathan Taylor ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: RB1, Pick 1
Average Auction Value: $75
Jonathan Taylor Statistics:
|Year||G||GS||Rush||Ru Yds||Ru TD||Tgt||Rec||Yards||TD||Touches||Opp||Total Yards|
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tch||HPPR Pts/Tch||PPR Pts/Tch|
2022 Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Football Overview:
Jonathan Taylor is an interesting case, mostly because you can chop up his season any way that you would like, and you can see what you want to see with it. Personally, what I see is an absolute stud rusher who the Colts leaned on as hard as humanly possible last season, while spelling him through keeping him off the field on passing downs. Some like to look at Taylor and see room for growth, but he led the league in carries and red zone touches (and is very good, so it is also why he led the league in rushing yards and total touchdowns). He also ran the tenth-most routes last season, despite the Colts trying to get Nyheim Hines on the field as much as they could (#17 in targets).
Basically, if you’re catching my gist here: I’m not entirely sure how much more room Jonathan Taylor has to grow and therein lies the rub. He had 2,171 total yards and 20 touchdowns last season, which obviously made him the RB1. But, in full-PPR, his RB1 finish would have been RB2 or worse in every season going back to 2016; he would have beat out Devonta Freeman in 2015 for the RB1 slot. He also did it while being extremely primed for regression. Since 2010, 13 running backs had at least 2000 total yards in a season, none have repeated, and only one topped 350 touches the next year. The average yards per touch also went down by over two-thirds of a yard, from 5.67 to 4.95 yards per touch. They also lost, on average, 160 touches. Though, this is dragged down by injuries to Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and David Johnson. If you want those pulled out, they still lost on average, 98 touches. That makes a lot of sense, as getting to 2000 total yards takes a lot of touches (all had at least 350 touches) and efficiency (all had at least 5 yards per touch), two things that can fall off a cliff in a hurry.
This also bodes true for scoring 20+ touchdowns. From 2010 to 2020, four running backs scored at least 20 touchdowns in a season. Only one scored double-digit touchdowns the next season, and on average, they went from 20 touchdowns to seven. Again, this makes sense, as the change in usage to decrease hits on a player after a massive season. So, Jonathan Taylor, who scored the fewest points as the RB1 on a season since Devonta Freeman in 2015, is set for a step back. What do we do about drafting him?
2022 Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
You still take Jonathan Taylor top-three. Everything I did above is both hair-splitting and nit-picking. There’s no reason to take him outside of the top-three in 1QB leagues without being too cute by half. But, it does raise the question: do we take JT as the RB1? The other guys in the discussion are Christian McCaffrey (my RB1) and Derrick Henry (the RB1 until he got hurt last season). But, the writing is on the wall for a step back because you can’t keep up a 2,000-yard, 20 touchdown pass in back-to-back seasons, and that massive number, thanks to his lack of catches, is set to come down. So, for me, I am taking him as RB3. I know that CMC has had injuries derail his last two seasons, and I know Derrick Henry’s foot is an issue, but I also know that Jonathan Taylor’s 2,000 & 20 2021 campaign doesn’t have a great precedent for repeating in 2022.
But, ultimately, he’s like Mike Trout was for years in fantasy baseball: as good a pick to repeat as RB1 as anyone, and as good a pick to not fall out of the top-five at the position, barring injury, as anyone. He’s a safe floor play with a literal RB1 ceiling, so he should not be falling further than the third pick in your fantasy football snake drafts.
In salary cap drafts, however, let him be someone else’s player. He goes for $75 on average and usually sets the running back market. Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey all go for between $60 and $65, so you can afford to pay up for your favorite one of those guys, and still have the space to get Breece Hall ($11) as your RB2, D.J. Moore ($10) as your WR2, or Darren Waller ($12) or Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray ($11 combined) as your QB platoon. I’m not touching Taylor in salary cap drafts, not at those prices.
Best Case Scenario:
I’m wrong and Jonathan Taylor is the weakest RB1 since Devonta Freeman.
Worst Case Scenario:
I’m right and Jonathan Taylor falls as low as RB5. The horror!
Check out all our 2022 player profiles, here.
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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Header Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Indianapolis_Colts_TD_celebration_at_Miami_Dolphins_OCT2021.png under CC BY SA 2.0]