How to Replace Jonathan Taylor in Fantasy Week 5: Nyheim Hines or Deon Jackson or Phillip Lindsay in the Colts Backfield?

Could you find JT’s replacement in his own backfield?

Your first thought might be that Nyheim Hines gets the bulk of the backfield work against the Broncos with Jonathan Taylor out, but history isn’t very passionate about that take.

So now that we know that JT is human, it’s time to find out what Indy’s backfield looks like in his absence.

In 12 career starts, Nyheim Hines has averaged 5.4 carries-per-game, with only one 10-plus carry game happening back in 2018 during his rookie season.

At 5′ 9″, 196 pounds, Hines doesn’t athletically profile as a workhorse back. Then again, neither does Phillip Lindsay (5′ 8″, 190). But the Colts elevated the journeyman running back from the practice squad in time for Thursday Night Football.

Unlike Hines, Lindsay has been given a sizable rushing workload in comparison to his size, averaging 12.7 carries-per-game during his three seasons in Denver — eclipsing 1,000 yards his first two seasons.

But he’s had diminishing returns since his rookie year, with a yards-per-carry of 5.4 in 2018, 4.5 in 2019, and 4.3 in 2020, before a dismal year with the Texans and Dolphins in 2021 (of course, every back in Houston and Miami had a bad year in 2021). Despite the revenge game narrative behind Lindsay’s return to Denver, it’s hard to imagine him coming in and finding much success.

There’s also the possibility of the Colts deploying an ugly three-way committee that includes Deon Jackson. The undrafted running back (6′ 0″, 218 pounds) has a bigger build and a different skill-set than the other two backs. Despite having only 15 career carries through his second season, he’s been on the active roster every game this season — unlike Lindsay.

The Colts have been uncharacteristically bad in the run game so far this year, ranking 27th in the NFL at only 87.8 yards-per-game, after ranking top-10 each of the three years prior. And although the Broncos just got run over by Josh Jacobs last week for 144 yards and two TDs, I would expect the Colts’ rushing struggles to continue.

That would make Lindsay and Jackson desperation, touchdown-dependent plays in fantasy. As for Hines, his passing game prowess allows him to be a comfortable low-end RB2/flex tonight in Half or PPR formats.

In Taylor’s rookie year in 2020, he had five games he either missed or had less than a 40-percent snap share. Hines scored 17.5 points-per-game in half-PPR those games.

However, six touchdowns contributed to that production and given the Colts’ offensive struggles so far this season, I would not expect a high touchdown total tonight, even though it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

If you rolled with Frank Reich’s fantasy hype-building and drafted Hines, I bet Reich would tell you to start him tonight. I would follow that advice, just don’t forget to follow TNF protocol, and move him out of your FLEX spot.

Hines sits at RB31, while Jackson checks in at RB61 on The Wolf’s Week 5 Rankings.


  • Driven by profit, has the lobes for business. Prioritizes anchors as part of a diversified portfolio. Seeks to be the first hue-mon to become the Grand Nagus. On Twitter @ChaseM_G


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