Robert Turbin, Nyheim Hines' Updated Fantasy Outlook After Marlon Mack's Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2018

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (42)returns a punt against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. The Ravens defeated the Colts 20-19. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

The Indianapolis Colts already had a difficult backfield to read and things have only gotten more confusing with Marlon Mack ruled out of Thursday's matchup against the New England Patriots with a hamstring injury.

Star receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle were also ruled out, created a void in offensive skill players in Week 5.

With Mack once again unavailable, the Colts will likely turn to a few different players to help pick up the slack in the backfield. While this depth is valuable for the team remaining competitive going forward, it's tricky impossible for fantasy football owners to predict. 

Indianapolis drafted two running backs last spring and both Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins figure to be important parts of the offense for the rest of the season.

Hines is the better fit to replace Mack as a receiver and big-play threat who can get yards in different ways. In points-per-reception leagues, the rookie can be a useful fill-in who can rack up catches and total yards to make him a relatively safe option.

He's been better than Wilkins this year, accumulating 54 rushing yards, 22 receptions for 119 yards and three total scores.

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However, Wilkins is the bigger of the two at 6'1", 216 pounds, giving him a better chance to get consistent yards up the middle. He should be especially valuable near the goal line, making him a high-upside option if he can get touchdowns for your fantasy team (though he hasn't to this point in the season).

Wilkins has also been better in the run game, posting 136 yards on the ground. Neither has been particularly efficient, however, with Wilkins averaging 3.6 yards per carry and Hines offering just 3.0.  

The team could also turn to veteran Robert Turbin, making this backfield incredibly undesirable from a fantasy perspective.

The uncertainty should keep fantasy owners away from the situation until the breakdown is more clear. Still, Hines should be one of the top pickups if he is available given his utility in the passing game and better overall numbers than Wilkins to this point in the season.

Consider Hines a flex consideration in PPR formats or deep standard-scoring leagues, while Wilkins and Turbin can each be rostered but shouldn't be started.

The situation isn't much better at receiver with Hilton out, but Ryan Grant and Chester Rodgers could both have big games against the inconsistent Patriots secondary. The two have posted similar numbers this year, but Rodgers is coming off the better game after totaling 85 yards on eight catches and 11 targets in Week 4.

Although he doesn't have a touchdown yet, Rodgers does have a successful two-point conversion and is likely the better option if you need a fill-in for the week.

Zach Pascal is also coming off a strong performance but he hasn't been consistent enough to warrant fantasy consideration.