After the Dallas Cowboys decided to pay Ezekiel Elliott, he went out and posted a big year. He had over 300 rushing attempts, and was second to Derrick Henry in rushing attempts around the league. He posted a double-digit touchdown year, and also had 54 receptions for those looking at PPR numbers. Elliott had another top five running back year, and projects for much of the same. While the offensive line took a hit with Travis Frederick retiring, Zeke is still rushing behind a strong line and in one of the better fantasy offenses on the board right now. His ADP and auction value are sitting right where they have been the last few years. You are getting stable production from one of the few true workhorses in the game. I would certainly be happy starting off my draft with Elliott right now.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FANTASY POINTS||FPPG|
I believe because Ezekiel Elliott has produced big numbers since entering the NFL, his 2019 season got a bit overlooked. He was not a big talking point, despite finishing as the 3rd best PPR. Elliott is a true workhorse back, and his numbers over the 2019 season were stellar. He was one of two backs who had over 300 rushing attempts, and he also had 72 targets in the passing game as well. He caught 54 of them for 420 yards and two touchdowns. Elliott gave you everything you could ask from a top tier back. He was a strong floor play each week, averaging 19.7 points per game, and he dominated in the second half of the season, scoring 20, 23, 31, 15, and 27 fantasy points over the final five weeks of the season.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FANTASY POINTS||FPPG|
It is hard to really project anything different for Ezekiel Elliott, as he has been a model of consistency since entering the league. He projects for nine touchdowns, but of course there is always room for more given his workload and usage in the red zone. He should flirt with 1,500 yards all-purpose again, and factoring in receiving touchdowns, double-digit touchdowns are a given if healthy. His lowest number of touchdowns in the four years have been nine, even with the suspension in 2017. He has been over 300 attempts on the ground in each of those seasons, where he would have had four straight if he didn’t miss time in 2017.
NFL rushing yardage leaders since 2016:
1. Ezekiel Elliott – 5,405
2. Todd Gurley – 4,298
3. Jordan Howard – 3,895#Dolphins
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) March 17, 2020
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: Top Five Pick
Auction Price: $53
Nothing has really changed for Ezekiel Elliott here. He is a top five pick, and one of those premium running backs you feel comfortable with each week. You can count on that workload being there as long as he is healthy, and his durability has been unquestioned. Elliott has topped 300+ fantasy points in three of his four seasons, and has averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in his career. You are paying for an established workhorse with a proven track record of fantasy production. He will be one of the more expensive auction options and also one of the first players off the board. If you are not willing to pony up the dough or within the first 4-5 picks, you won’t be seeing Elliott on your team.
As mentioned above, there are very few with a floor like Elliott’s. He is going to consistently get his weekly touches, and in a healthy season you can count on 1,200+ yards on the ground and get double-digit all-purpose touchdowns. Averaging 20+ fantasy points a game in his career, which is over four seasons, you know what you are getting at this point. He is a staple of the offense and is rushing behind a strong offensive line. Look for more of the same.
As far as a ceiling goes, we could easily go back to his rookie year where he had 15 touchdowns on the ground, and produced nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards. This is well within his range of outcomes again. When you combine the efficiency that he has with the volume, you have an immense amount of upside. Elliott can get to the 350 mark in PPR leagues, that is his ceiling.
Dallas Cowboys Offense
Dallas was a top five offense last season, averaging 3.1 touchdowns per game and 27 points per game overall. They moved the ball at will, averaging 431 yards per game. One of the strong suits for Elliott is that Dallas runs the ball a lot, and they ran 42% of the time last season, and were 9th in rush attempts per game at 28. The pace of play was a big plus for them, as they ranked second in pace and were in a lot of close games which kept their foot on the pedal. When they would lead, Elliott would still be a featured player, they just slowed the pace down. Overall this offense should be extremely fantasy friendly again, as their big three were all top fantasy scoring options last season.
Strength Of Schedule
Dallas always have a notable schedule, and Ezekiel Elliott has had his way for the most part with the divisional opponents. The Giants and Eagles were strong run defenses last season, both ranking inside the top eight in DVOA. Washington ranked 24th, but they were a better defense than advertised, and should improve in 2020. Either way that will still be a positive matchup for Elliott. Against Washington in his career, he has averaged 102 yards per game and has scored eight touchdowns. He has rushed for over 100 yards per game against Philadelphia, but has two touchdowns in six games. The Giants have given him some trouble, but his receiving numbers are solid against them. Outside of those games, the Cowboys have some cupcake matchups as far as opposing defenses go. They will take on the Bengals, Browns, and Cardinals. These are three run defenses right off the bat that Elliott can take advantage of. Atlanta and Seattle are also on the schedule, and ranked as bottom half run defenses in 2019. Overall Elliott doesn’t depend much on his schedule. That workload is always going to be consistent, and he doesn’t rely upon positive game scripts each week.
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