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Will Jonathan Taylor Be The Best Running Back In Fantasy Football in 2022?

Jonathan Taylor is on the heels of one of the best fantasy seasons we have ever seen from a running back. If it weren't for Cooper Kupp's record-breaking season, Taylor would have been the number one overall player in all fantasy football. From efficiency to touchdowns to his utilization in the passing game, everyone is asking the same question now that it is draft season: Will Jonathan Taylor be the fantasy RB1 this year?

There are a lot of risks when you take a running back of Taylor's caliber and workload, potentially first overall in your fantasy drafts. Over the last ten years, there has only been one repeat running back one performance: Todd Gurley in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

If there were anyone to add to that statistic, it would be the 23-year-old, third-year running back out of Wisconsin.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best NFL Series, MLB Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Jonathan Taylor Concerns for Fantasy Football?

Jonathan Taylor proved last year that he belongs in the conversation of best pure running back in the NFL. 332 rushing attempts turned into 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Once we look into the fantasy scoring though, it was a lot closer than people remember. Taylor did finish as the best running back but only by a margin of 44.5 points. Austin Ekeler was that running back in second place and played one less game than Taylor.

Add in Ekeler's average points per game from the previous sixteen games, and Taylor's margin of victory in the number one spot dwindles to 25.2. The old saying states that "The best ability of a fantasy running back is 'availability."

With his out-of-this-world usage rates over his first two years (564 rushing attempts total), the likelihood of an injury increases as the season progresses.

 

Should I Draft Jonathan Taylor First Overall In Fantasy Football?

As much as there is cause to concern around Taylor, there are just as many, if not more, reasons to repeat as the running back one. Starting with the receiving work Taylor has seen, he sees a continual target share despite Nyheim Hines being a 3rd down factor. Last year he totaled 40 receptions for 360 yards.

Look at what Matt Ryan did for Cordarelle Patterson the previous season and how he schemed into plays. Taylor should be a beneficiary in the receiving department. The Indianapolis Colts' offense should also be better and create more touchdown opportunities for Taylor as the focal point of their red zone offense.

Will Taylor repeat his NFL record 85 rushes inside of the red zone? Probably not, but even if he saw a marginal decline this season, he still should be over 60 rushes in the red area.

Lastly, the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line is only improving with time. Last year they were the 9th ranked run blocking line in the league (via PFF). Take the strength of the offensive line, Matt Ryan as the best quarterback Taylor has played with, and an underwhelming division.

Jonathan Taylor should repeat as the fantasy football running back one. Draft him at your 1.01 with confidence and look to have a locked and loaded running back on your roster this season.



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