The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 5: No. 1 Taylor isn’t only star RB to be concerned about

UPDATE: 1:01 p.m. Wednesday
Well that didn’t take long: The Colts have ruled out Jonathan Taylor for Thursday night’s game in Denver. So they will be depending a whole lot on Nyheim Hines. And we will be reworking the lede to the Pioneer Press version of the update.

ORIGINAL POST: 11 :01 a.m. Wednesday
Fantasy owners who put their faith in Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor and took him with the top draft pick are now facing a Week 5 call they’d rather not make.

Taylor injured his ankle in the Colts’ loss to Tennessee last Sunday, and he’s facing a quick turnaround as they play at Denver on Thursday night. It’s quite likely Taylor will not be ready. And even if he plays, he could be on a very limited pitch count.

It’s already been a disappointing first month for Taylor. While he is sixth in the league in rushing with 326 yards, he has only a single touchdown in four games. And he has done very little in the passing game. Not very good for a No. 1 selection.

Taylor’s not the only first-round fantasy pick to woefully underperform so far this year. He has plenty of company:

Dalvin Cook (Vikings) — Cook was the fourth pick, on average, back in August. But since then the oft-injured star has tallied just one touchdown, with 279 rushing yards but only 47 yards receiving. He could begin a personal revival this week against Chicago, but he’s still quite a distance from being early-first-round material.

Joe Mixon (Bengals) — Cincinnati’s offensive line woes have hindered Mixon, who was picked in the No. 6 range this summer. Only 224 yards, and he didn’t get his first touchdown until last Thursday against Miami. And he’s been only slightly better as a receiver than the Colts’ Taylor has been.

Najee Harris (Steelers) — After being taken around the No. 7 slot, Pittsburgh’s RB isn’t even the greatest Harris, having been surpassed by New England’s Damien by 44 yards so far in ‘22. That’s what happens when bad quarterbacking leads defenses to stuff eight or nine in the box to stop Najee.

Alvin Kamara (Saints) — A late-first-round choice, Kamara has played only every other week so far. The guy who once had six touchdowns in a single game now has zero through four. With just 111 total yards a quarter of the way through the season, he’s the most prominent of the disappointing Saints.

SITTING STARS
Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs finally broke free for a big week against Denver, but he’ll find the going much tougher in Kansas City. … The Rams’ defense was better against animal rights protesters than the 49ers on Monday night, but they will tighten the clamps on Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. … Philly’s Miles Sanders has been better than expected, but will cool down in Arizona. … Carolina WR D.J. Moore will remain cooled off against the 49ers. … And despite the elevation of rookie QB Kenny Pickett, we see no Steelers you can start against Buffalo, except for maybe George Pickens.

MATCHUP GAME
Detroit’s Jared Goff has been a top-five QB so far for the offensive Lions, and he should get some of his top receivers back against New England. … On the other side, the Patriots’ Damien Harris should run free through the Lions like Rashaad Penny did last week. … London fans will get to see a strong Green Bay rushing attack, as Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon will run through the Giants. … Jacksonville RB James Robinson will get back in form against Houston. … Receivers we like this week include Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins vs. Baltimore, Washington’s Terry McLaurin against Tennessee and the Jets’ Garrett Wilson vs. Miami. … And a reminder to pick up Washington RB Brian Robinson now. He might not play against Tennessee, but he’ll be the Commanders’ No. 1 RB before too long.

INJURY WATCH
We’re shocked, shocked that Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa is out this week. Even more shocked if anyone trusts Teddy Bridgewater to post great numbers against the Jets. … Atlanta put RB Cordarrelle Patterson in injured reserve, so Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley will be splitting duties for the Falcons. … Guys nursing Week 4 injuries include four receivers (Washington’s Jahan Dotson, Tennessee’s Treylon Burks, Buffalo’s Isaiah McKenzie and Baltimore’s Rashod Bateman) and one meager QB (Giants’ Daniel Jones). Questionable to return this week are Detroit RB D’Andre Swift, Chicago RB David Montgomery, Chargers WR Keenan Allen, Saints WR Michael Thomas, Las Vegas WR Hunter Renfrow and the Detroit pass-catching duo of Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark.

THE DEEPEST SLEEPER
Vikings fans may vaguely remember Mike Boone, a running back who spent three seasons in Minnesota. Well, he’s in Denver now. And with Jamaal Williams blowing out his knee last week, Boone is now sharing RB duties with the now-fumble-prone Melvin Gordon. Boone was the main ball carrier last week in Las Vegas after Williams went down. Even though he had a key drop near game’s end, Boone may see a lot of duty the rest of the season. We’d refrain from counting on him Thursday night against Indianapolis, but he’s worth a pickup.

THE THURSDAY PICK
Colts at Broncos (-3½):
Pick: Colts by 7

BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at kcusick@pioneerpress.com.