Lorenzo Taliaferro had a productive rookie year considering he was buried on the depth chart. He outplayed veteran Bernard Pierce, who was jettisoned in the off-season, and he managed to put up over 400 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in a reserve role.
Taliaferro has reportedly lost some weight and has the motivation to become an every down player, and not just a power back, which is the label he’s carried with him since college. He flashed ability to be a starter last year, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and filling in admirably on the fly when called upon. Starter Justin Forsett will be 30 in October and could always wear down.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be hard for Taliaferro to supplant Forsett as the starter, and with rookie Javorius “Buck” Allen coming in from USC, he may even have a battle for the backup role. While Taliaferro remains a talented player, the depth chart as it is doesn’t favor him, and with only eight receptions a year ago, it’s unlikely he’ll carve out a role on passing downs that will allow him to be a solid producer while Forsett is healthy.
Taliaferro has an uphill battle to become fantasy relevant in any way other than as Forsett’s handcuff. Even that is a little risky with the presence of the rookie Allen, and fantasy owners should consider Taliaferro a late round stash at best at this point. Keep an eye on the camp battle to make sure that he beats out Allen for the backup role, and if something should happen to Forsett, then of course his value increases.
Taliaferro is banged up and may miss the first week of the season. Fantasy owners should watch carefully, because if rookie Javorius Allen shows up big, the backup job may not be available to Taliaferro anymore.