clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jonathan Taylor Is Your New Fantasy Football God

With five touchdowns on Sunday, the Colts star running back has become even more than a league winner

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The average reading speed for an adult is 200 to 250 words per minute—at least, that’s what this website told me. This article is about 800 words long, so you should be able to read it in anywhere from three to four minutes—throw in watching all the highlights, and let’s call it four to five minutes.

In that time, Jonathan Taylor will have scored another touchdown for the Indianapolis Colts.


I’m not kidding. The Colts had five touchdown drives against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and all of them were punctuated with a Jonathan Taylor score: four rushing, one receiving. All of them came in the first three quarters, during which the Colts possessed the ball for a total of 27 minutes. Divide that by Taylor’s five touchdowns, and he was scoring a touchdown every five minutes for the Colts’ offense. Let’s count ‘em all.

Here’s number one, which gave him eight consecutive games with at least one rushing touchdown.

Here’s number two, his longest touchdown of the day, and his only one through the air:

Here’s the third, after a Bills fumble set the Colts offense up on the 2-yard line.

Here’s the fourth, during which you can see Bills corner Levi Wallace’s final, fleeting will to fight on evaporate in real time.

And the fifth and final touchdown, in which everyone’s basically tired of all this and just wants to go home.

In short, it was a good day at the office for Taylor, who totaled more than 200 yards from scrimmage, including 185 on the ground, along with his five scores. The performance gave Taylor a number of mind-boggling statistical accomplishments. Taylor is:

  • The 16th player in league history to score five total touchdowns in one game.
  • The first Colt to score five total touchdowns in one game.
  • The fastest Colt to 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
  • One of three players in NFL history to total more than 100 yards from scrimmage and score a rushing touchdown in eight consecutive games, tying the longest such streaks in league history (LaDainian Tomlinson and Lydell Mitchell).
  • 13th all time for single-game fantasy performance, with 53.4 PPR fantasy points today. He just beat out Barry Sanders.
  • 71 fantasy points ahead of the next closest running back (rest of Sunday and Monday results pending).

This was by far the best performance of Taylor’s career—both in real life and in fantasy football—and while the astounding touchdown production is unsustainable, the volume isn’t going away. Taylor entered the game third in the league in overall rushing attempts behind Derrick Henry and Najee Harris, who doesn’t play until Sunday Night against the Chargers. With 32 carries against the Bills, Taylor sits only 26 carries behind Henry for the league’s lead. He did pass Henry this week in rushing yards, now with 1,122 rushing yards on the season through just 11 weeks.

Oh! Here’s a couple more!

  • Taylor has totaled 1,122 rushing yards through the first 11 weeks of the season, which is the 35th-best mark in league history; his 1,444 total yards from scrimmage is tied with Jim Brown for the 34th-best number.
  • With the 17-game schedule, Taylor is on pace for 1,734 rushing yards, which would be the 29th-best single-season mark in league history; and 2,231 yards from scrimmage, which would be the 18th-best single-season mark in league history.

The Colts have won five of their past six games with Taylor as the engine of the offense, fulfilling the plan they laid out when selecting him with a top 50 pick. Quarterback Carson Wentz, who had a rough start to the season, has attempted fewer than 30 passes in three of his past six games; since Week 9, only six teams are running it more on neutral downs than the Colts, and only the Browns are running it more effectively, per RBSDM.com.

Even though the Colts extended scatback Nyheim Hines for three years and $18.6 million this offseason, Taylor has out-targeted him 29-23 through the past eight weeks. Hines may be the superior route runner, but Taylor is so good at breaking tackles and exploding for big plays, it doesn’t really matter: He’s the better receiver by default. And, as luck would have it, the Colts have won their past three games and four of their past five. The more Taylor has become a part of the offense, the better the offense has become outright.

With this much volume and efficiency, Taylor has become more than a league winner in fantasy—he’s become a “week-ender,” a “stop checking the app-er,” a “don’t bother to set your lineup if you’re facing him-er.” As the Colts power through a messy AFC with hopes of the playoffs still alive, they’ll rely on Taylor—and as fantasy managers power through the injury-riddled back stretch of the regular season, they’ll rely on Taylor for victory as well.