How should fans approach Colts RB Jonathan Taylor in fantasy football drafts?

Jonathan Taylor is one of the best fantasy football players in the NFL, but should his health and contract dispute with the Colts impact when he’s drafted?
June 14, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) passes on
June 14, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) passes on / IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

If you had Jonathan Taylor on your fantasy team in 2021, you probably won your league. If you played fantasy football in 2022, you probably drafted Jonathan Taylor in the first round, or was disappointed when someone with one of the first few picks selected him. Taylor is one of the best actual players in the NFL. Being a running back, that makes him one of the best fantasy football players in the league.

However, fantasy football fans are likely conflicted on Taylor right now as the season approaches. Taylor is still one of the top fantasy football players, but he’s currently in a messy contract dispute with the Indianapolis Colts, and is dealing with a mysterious ankle injury from last season, that has had him on the PUP list all of training camp. With those three factors in mind, fans may be confused on when’s the best time to draft Taylor.

When should Jonathan Taylor be drafted in fantasy football?

First, we must ask if Jonathan Taylor will play at all this season. While he has demanded a new contract, and a trade, Taylor is under contract for the 2023 season, so he can’t holdout, or it’d be very expensive for him. Additionally, it has already been reported that Taylor is prepared to play for the Colts this season, but only once he’s 100% healthy. Based on all the details we have on Taylor’s ankle injury, he should be available for the 2023 season.

So, understanding that it’s likely that Taylor will play this season, he has to be drafted in fantasy league’s, he’s too good of a player to go undrafted. The only question is what round? That all depends on what happens in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the season.

If Taylor is activated off the PUP list, and returns to practice before training camp ends, feel free to take him in the first round. If he’s healthy, he’s going to get the ball, and we know what he can do with the ball in his hand. However, if he’s still on the PUP list once camp ends, it wouldn’t be a good idea to select him in the first round.

There will be too many elite guys on the board to draft an injured star. However, once the second round rolls around, fantasy GMs will have to consider if Taylor, who’s going to play at some point this season, is a better value than the guys on the board.

So simply put, if Jonathan Taylor is healthy before the start of the season, draft him in the first round. If he’s still sidelined when camp is nearing an end, Taylor should fall to the second, and no further than the third round.