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Jonathan Taylor Gets Extension: What This Means for Dynasty Leagues

Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Taylor
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With a contract extension and uncertainty of Jonathan Taylor’s next playing location now in the rearview mirror, we can focus on what matters: him playing football.

Taylor agreed to a three-year, $42 million extension with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, ESPN reported.

The contract extension effectively does two things for Taylor: as long as he’s healthy enough, he will be playing on Sundays, and his job is secure for the foreseeable future. Although the latter part shouldn’t be too big of an issue, considering Taylor has one of the best running back profiles in the game. 

After posting multiple top-12 seasons in his first three years, his profile is filled with superlatives, including a season where he finished as the overall RB1. Diving into how he’s accumulating these fantasy points, it’s clear that he’s one of the premier rushers in the NFL.

Taylor's rushing alone has lent itself to top-12 production without even factoring in his receiving production. He and Derrick Henry are the only running backs to post at least 3.00 yards per team rush attempt in each of the past two seasons. They are also the only running backs to post at least 15 points per game strictly from rushing production in either of the past two seasons. For reference, the average top twelve season is 15 points per game.

Now, his receiving profile up to this point has been simply adequate, as he’s yet to post a 12 percent target share in his first three years.  His first three seasons have resulted in him putting up 7.5 percent, 9.8 percent, and 10.2 percent target shares, respectively.

This is fine because, even though the average target share for a top twelve running back finish since 2017 has been 14.8 percent, Taylor has simply been so dynamic as a rusher. While his low target share likely leaves him lacking Christian McCaffrey-esque upside, it’s not hindering him from hitting elite production. We’ve seen him post a 21.7-point-per-game season with a sub-10 percent target share. 

One thing that will be different when Taylor returns is he will be playing alongside a high-volume rushing quarterback in Anthony Richardson. Though the impact of a rushing quarterback on the production of premium running backs can sometimes be overblown, it is worth examining.

While there’s not even close to a strong sample size of this occurring, in the past five seasons, only two running backs who have put up at least an 18-point-per-game season in their career have played with a quarterback who rushed for over seven points per game. 

That would be David Johnson with Kyler Murray in 2020 and Saquon Barkley with Daniel Jones in 2021. 

In Johnson’s case, he was in his sixth season and put up a 14.8 point per game season following a 10.9 point per game season the year prior. That year prior was Murray’s lowest rushing production of his career.  

Barkley put up 17.5 points per game and handled over 60 percent of the team rushes alongside a high-volume rushing Daniel Jones.

In Indianapolis, Taylor is now locked and loaded into an offense where Zack Moss has put up multiple games of at least 20 points. Given the premier talent, Taylor is my dynasty RB4.

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