Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines' Fantasy Outlooks Falling in Current Colts' Offense - Roto Street Journal
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Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines’ Fantasy Outlooks Falling in Current Colts’ Offense

The 2020 NFL season kicked off with three Colts’ running backs in the fantasy conversation. After Marlon Mack‘s season-ending Achilles tear in week 1, that number dropped to two.

Jonathan Taylor silenced growing concerns about his ability to pass-catch by snatching all six targets in week 1. Coupled with his 26-101-1 rushing line in week 2, the number of Colts’ backs in the fantasy convo appeared to be dropping to one.

Jordan Wilkins Has Entered The Chat

Wilkins has garnered nine carries each of the past three weeks. This is enough volume to put a damper on the ceilings of Taylor and Nyheim Hines. It drops Taylor out of set-it-and-forget-it RB1 status and puts Hines’ teetering the line of fantasy relevance, much like seasons past.

Hines seems close to returning to his old familiar role. Dominating the backfield aerial pie, he saw nine targets since week 2, compared to six targets for Taylor and Wilkins combined. His rushing workload, at 5.33 attempts-per-game since week 2, is still a bit higher than his previous career rate of 3.25-per-game.

Philip Rivers No Longer A Checkdown Machine?

Rivers threw 17 passes to running backs in week 1. He only threw 15 in the next three weeks combined. A three-week stretch lacking such a normally Rivers-like trait, and the outlook on all Colts backs takes another fantasy hit.

Football is an ever-changing landscape of strategy, but there is a concerning common theme going on here to remember moving forward.

Frank Reich’s Scheme Is Increasingly Resembling 2019 Form

Colts RB stock was understandably high after Rivers-being-Rivers saw all three backs getting peppered with targets during the season opener. But then, Philip’s five targets-per-game to backs since week 2 parallels the 5.68 that backs saw with Jacoby Brissett last season.

Last year, beat writers and fantasy experts alike laid out Marlon Mack’s ability to handle being a workhorse. No matter, Colts coach Frank Reich used Mack and Hines in separate, very one-dimensional roles.

Jonathan Taylor had the highest draft capital and the best athletic profile of the Colts’ 2020 backfield, and the drumbeat got loud, arguably louder, but this time for Taylor. No matter, the Colts are again giving Hines the only considerable passing volume, while giving their primary rusher next to no impact in that area. Add Jordan Wilkins’ usage for another layer of frustration.

Will that change? The Colts are 3-1, hardly a time for Frank Reich to fix what doesn’t appear to be broken. And as Marlon Mack truthers already found out, Frank doesn’t care about your fantasy team.

Taylor is currently the RB11 (same vs ECR) and Hines the RB47 (-8 vs ECR) on our 2020 Rest Of Season Big Board and Rankings

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