Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich announced on Friday that star running back Jonathan Taylor will not play on Sunday. Taylor sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday, so this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. What it means, though, is that you should be starting Deon Jackson on every, single fantasy football team that you can.
It’s been a tough season for “JT” both in terms of fantasy football and real-life football. The consensus #1 overall pick for most fantasy leagues, Taylor has done little to justify that status.
He ran for 161 yards in Week 1 against the Texans and appeared to prove everyone correct who used that coveted top pick on him. But he has not topped 76 yards on the ground in any other contest. After scoring 27.5 points in that first game, Taylor has had just 43.8 PPR points since. This will be his third missed game of the season.
Deon Jackson is a fantasy football must-start against the Patriots
Enter: Deon Jackson. Jackson got the start in the two prior games missed by Taylor — Week 5 against Denver and Week 6 against Jacksonville — and scored a combined 41.2 points. He dropped 28.1 against Jacksonville, more than Taylor has produced in any game this season.
Not only will Jackson get the start Sunday, but the Colts just traded away Nyheim Hines to the Bills. They got Zack Moss back, but he won’t have time to get up to speed and figures to be very limited. That leaves just Phillip Lindsay behind Jackson and Lindsay has spent the bulk of the season on the practice squad.
With no Hines to take passing-down work, Deon Jackson should be something of a three-down workhorse against the Patriots on Sunday. Although New England looks like a tough matchup for running backs on paper — they’ve allowed the second-fewest RB fantasy points against — it’s very misleading.
The reason New England has given up so few points is due to a lack of touchdowns. Opposing running backs have scored just twice against them. But touchdowns are notoriously fluky. A deeper dive into the numbers shows that the Pats have given up 1,000 scrimmage yards in eight games to opposing running backs this season. That’s over 125 yards/per game.
So, yeah, Deon Jackson has an opportunity to put up monster numbers this week. And, for the record, I like the Colts to cover the 5.5-point spread, even without Jonathan Taylor.