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Is Colts Running Back Jonathan Taylor More Favorable Fantasy Option Than Marlon Mack?

The Indianapolis Colts drafted Jonathan Taylor in the second round to team up with leading rusher Marlon Mack in 2020. From an NFL fantasy perspective, is Taylor the smarter running back selection?

The plan is for the Indianapolis Colts to share the rushing workload between 2019 leading rusher Marlon Mack and rookie Jonathan Taylor.

As a result, NFL fantasy owners can be expected to wait before selecting either of them on draft day. But which back is the better option?

Colts head coach Frank Reich has said there’s an inherent bias toward the returning starter, which suggests Mack will be the No. 1 guy this season. But Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni have also said they see the Mack-Taylor tandem as a “one-one” punch, which suggests the rookie second-round selection out of Wisconsin will get his share of carries.

The Indianapolis Colts plan to utilize the running-back tandem of 2019 leading rusher Marlon Mack (left) and rookie Jonathan Taylor (right) in 2020.

The Colts are counting on a running-back tandem of 2019 leading rusher Marlon Mack (left) and rookie second-round pick Jonathan Taylor in 2020.

Here's a comprehensive look at several mid-level running back options reviewed by SI Fantasy analyst Frankie Taddeo.

There are several factors to consider when deciding which of these Colts backs will provide more fantasy points.

First, Mack is entering a contract year and will want as many carries as he can get so he can earn a more lucrative payday. But the 2017 fourth-round pick has also had injury issues — he’s missed eight games in three seasons.

Should Mack get injured again, Taylor’s stock improves dramatically.

The Colts rushed for 2,130 yards last season, which ranked seventh. Mack accounted for a career-best 1,091 of those yards. The blueprint is to rush for more, which suggests both Mack and Taylor could flirt with 1,000 rushing yards.

Here’s why many fantasy analysts favor Taylor. He’s a powerful runner, a compact 5-10 and 226 pounds, who also possesses speed — Taylor ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash in February’s NFL Scouting Combine at his future NFL home, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Mack, at 6-foot and 210 pounds, is more of a speed runner with a nasty stiff arm. He’s rushed for 20 TDs in three seasons, but expect Taylor to cut into that total because the closer the Colts get to the goal line, the more likely they will want to turn to the younger, more powerful legs of a back who will earn the hardest yards and fall forward.

Again, the comparison is between a pair of running backs who should be considered in the second-tier of fantasy draft options. Some might call them “sleeper” picks, should the player perform beyond expectations.

Fantasy analysts gush about Taylor’s potential — some suggest he will be the NFL’s best rookie running back from a fantasy perspective. He amassed 6,174 rushing yards and 50 TDs in three college seasons at Wisconsin. The rushing total ranks fourth in FBS history. Taylor was bestowed the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s best running back in each of the past two years.

Don’t be surprised if the rookie’s stock continues to rise come fantasy draft day. Fantasy owners are scanning stories and analyst reviews on the Internet and will factor into their rankings the favorable, trending input found online.

(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is