The Indianapolis Colts will be missing their most important offensive playmaker on Thursday night, as the team ruled star running back Jonathan Taylor out for their matchup vs. the Denver Broncos due to an ankle injury. This will be just the second game Taylor has missed in his NFL career.
Taylor did not practice all week due to his ankle injury. He was listed on the injury report last week with a toe injury, and actually missed the first practice session of his career last Wednesday. The Wisconsin product rushed for just 42 yards on 20 carries in the loss to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday. Taylor started off the 2022 campaign with a bang, rushing for 161 yards and one touchdown in the Week 1 tie with the Houston Texans. Since then, he hasn't surpassed 71 rushing yards in a game.
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Taylor was the NFL's best back last season, as he led the league with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 332 carries. With Taylor out, Nyheim Hines will take over as the lead back. He has rushed just eight times for 11 yards this season.
The 2-2 Broncos have been propped up by their defense through the early portion of the regular season, as they currently rank fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per game (284.8). However, they are middle of the pack when it comes to defending the run, as they allow 114 rushing yards per game, which ranks No. 18 in the NFL.
Here's how CBS Sports fantasy guru Chris Towers breaks down the impact of Taylor's absence:
"We don't exactly have much of a track record of what the Colts will do when Taylor is out – he's only missed one game in his career. However, in that game, Nyheim Hines did serve as the lead back, carrying the ball 10 times and garnering 10 targets, turning them into eight catches for 66 yards with 29 yards on the ground. You can't project that kind of passing game role again – the Colts entered halftime of that game down by 21 – but it's within the realm of possibility as they try to make up for the loss of their star running back. Hines is an RB2 for Fantasy, especially in point-per-reception leagues, while the backup duo of Phillip Lindsay and Deon Jackson should probably be ignored."