Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has had an eventful offseason due to contract drama and lingering injuries, and it’s caused his fantasy football value to drop significantly as a result.
Taylor was a consensus first-round pick in early fantasy drafts, but a nagging ankle injury and an unresolved contract situation have his 2023 status uncertain, as he’s currently on the PUP list and set to miss the first four games of 2023.
Taylor should return after Week 4 assuming his ankle is healed, but it’s unknown if he’ll play for the Colts since he requested a trade, so it’s tricky to know where he should be drafted in fantasy football.
Below I’ll make the case for and against drafting Taylor and where he should be valued in drafts.
The case for drafting JT
There’s no denying that Jonathan Taylor could end up a league-winning fantasy pick, as he’s going late enough in drafts now to offer serious value once he returns to the field.
Taylor led the NFL in rushing yards in 2021, and he was putting up respectable numbers last season while dealing with a nagging ankle, so there’s still potential for him to be a top-five running back if healthy.
The Colts will likely give Taylor all the carries he can handle if he suits up for them, and he should still be the clear lead runner even if he gets traded to a team that normally has a committee backfield.
The case against drafting JT
While Jonathan Taylor is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, his current situation is one that can end up ugly for fantasy managers.
Taylor’s ankle injury was thought to be a thing of the past this summer, but it reappeared once training camp opened and is seemingly still an issue since he won’t return until Week 5 at the earliest to where fantasy managers will have to call upon their bench sooner than they would like to.
Taylor’s contract situation is also troubling, as there’s a chance he could sit out even if he’s healthy if his trade request isn’t granted since his standoff with the Colts has yet to be resolved, and Colts rookie Evan Hull could carve out a role in the backfield and get meaningful touches even when Taylor returns.
Taylor carries too much risk for me to feel comfortable drafting him in the first six rounds of a 12-team league, but there always comes a point where it’s worth gambling since the payoff could be that of a top-five running back.
There’s a chance Taylor slips far in drafts coming up due to the recent troubling trends, and I’ll gladly roll the dice in the seventh round or later since there’s a chance that the players normally being drafted in that range don’t pan out anyway and don’t have the elite upside of Taylor.
I could understand avoiding Taylor completely since there’s a chance he sits out longer than four weeks, but I feel like he’ll be on the field at some point this season whether it’s in a Colts uniform or somewhere else.