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Packers RB Patrick Taylor could be an option in fantasy football with backfield banged up

Taylor is the third string and Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are both questionable to play in Week 15 vs. the Bucs. Might Taylor end up being viable in fantasy for the playoffs?

Patrick Taylor of the Green Bay Packers runs with the football during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers haven’t been healthy all season. One of the positions that has been a major issue is at running back. The Packers enter a crucial matchup vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday with both RB Aaron Jones and RB A.J. Dillon questionable to play.

Jones hasn’t been healthy for what seems like all season due to various lower-body ailments. Dillon has a fractured thumb which could hold him out due to ball security issues. So that could leave third-string back Patrick Taylor as the last man standing in Week 15, a big week for fantasy football playoffs. We’re going to take a look at whether or not Taylor is viable in fantasy football depending on how the injury dominos fall.

Update — Jones is active while Dillon is inactive for the Packers in Week 15 vs. the Bucs. So Taylor should spell Jones as the RB2 on Sunday.

Fantasy Football analysis: Packers RB Patrick Taylor

Let’s first examine Taylor as a player. The third-year back out of Memphis has actually been OK this season in a very small sample. He’s got 20 carries for 101 yards stretched out over seven games. Most of that production has come in the past two games, where he has six carries for 59 yards. You may remember Taylor’s 24-yard gain on SNF vs. the Chiefs in Week 13. Taylor also has a respectable eight catches on 14 targets for 54 yards. Two of those catches came for 22 yards on MNF vs. the Giants last week.

Taylor has played an average of 26.3 snaps over the past three weeks, which isn’t bad considering Dillon has been healthy that entire time. Taylor’s value has come with Jones out because Dillon is pretty one-dimensional. Taylor has decent size and is a more dynamic play-maker, but obviously has less of a grasp on the offense and isn’t as good in pass protection as Dillon. But in a scenario where at least one of Dillon and Jones is out Sunday, Taylor should be involved.

Now, does that mean he’d be involved enough to start in fantasy football?

Probably not. But if both Dillon and Jones are out, Taylor absolutely would have some fantasy value. One of the Bucs’ strengths on defense is stopping the run. Tampa Bay ranks 10th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. The Bucs have done a very good job limiting some top running games this season, most notably Christian McCaffrey and the Niners, Titans RB Derrick Henry and the Falcons’ run game featuring Bijan Robinson.

While the matchup is bad, if Jones and Dillon are out, Taylor may be getting too many offensive snaps and opportunity to not play in fantasy. If both Dillon and Jones are out Sunday, there’s a chance veteran back Kenyan Drake is elevated and active for Week 15. Drake could cut into some of Taylor’s snaps and usage but it shouldn’t be enough to be cause for concern. You’d also think that might mean Drake gets some short yardage work, so Taylor would still be in there on passing downs. Taylor would probably see upwards of 40-45 snaps with Jones and Dillon out.

The Packers are home favorites in a huge spot at home in a game that should be played in relatively cold weather. You’d think that means plenty of the run game. Again, Taylor is only relevant if Dillon and Jones sit. But even if one is out, Taylor might have some deeper PPR value in fantasy this week. Monitor the injury reports but also be sure to add Taylor to your roster if you need a handcuff for Jones/Dillon or might need a emergency RB play this week.