On paper, the Indianapolis Colts enter Week 6 in a decent position. At 3-2, they find themselves right in the thick of the AFC South race and well-positioned within the conference as a whole. They also possess one of the best defenses in the NFL this year along with an offense that has the talent to vastly improve as the season unfolds.
However, the Colts have already dealt with several blows, namely a season-ending Achilles injury to starting running back Marlon Mack. While Mack expected to work in a time share and cede touches over the course of the season, his absence has put rookie Jonathan Taylor and scatback Nyheim Hines in more prominent roles than expected this early in the year.
Fantasy Football analysis: Colts RBs Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines
Since Mack’s injury, Taylor has assumed the starting role and done a mostly commendable job. While his first start featured a ludicrous number of touches (28), he soon settled in for a more sustainable amount (between 14 and 18 touches in his subsequent three game appearances). That consistently has made the rookie running back a reliable starter in fantasy.
But while Taylor has taken the reins as the lead back, it initially appeared that Hines might hold that role. While replacing the injured Mack in Week 1, Hines delivered 73 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, performing well as both a runner and a receiver. That versatility suggested a strong fit with Philip Rivers, a quarterback who has consistently targeted his running backs in the passing game.
Yet, Hines hasn’t matched that level of efficiency in the time since. The Colts ran him 16 times and targeted him on eight occasions between Weeks 3 and 4, but he combined for just 93 yards from scrimmage and zero touchdowns. The lack of scoring opportunities could change depending on the matchup, but until Hines sees them again his upside appears capped.
As for the Colts’ Week 6 opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals have not done a stellar job slowing down opposing running backs this season. The unit averages roughly 131 rushing yards and a touchdown to backs this season with another 20 yards coming through the air. That said, the Bengals have allowed zero touchdowns of any kind to running backs since the start of Week 3.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Start Taylor as a low-end RB1.