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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB DALLAS COWBOYS

When it came to 2016 fantasy football drafts, quite possibly the most polarizing player was Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.  After Elliott was picked fourth overall by Dallas in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, expectations immediately went through the roof in terms of what the former Ohio State Buckeye could accomplish behind the best offensive line in the game.  With Elliott showing he was both a fantastic runner and receiver in college, his three-down back ability immediately put him in the first round of most 2016 fantasy football drafts.  Very rare is the rookie that can make such an immediate leap but Elliott was that guy.  We on the other hand advised against it for a number of reasons.  The first centered on the fact the Cowboys still had veterans Darren McFadden and free agent signing Alfred Morris in the fold.  Also Elliott dealt with injuries in college and his work habits were not exemplary there.  Fast forward to training camp and there was nothing but bad news surrounding Elliott as he showed up to camp overweight, he dealt with some aches and pains, he was seen spotted walking into a marajuan shop, and he was accused of hitting his girlfriend in a domestic violence indident.  While Elliott was cleared of the latter, he still was anything but a sure bet going into the season as Morris outplayed him by a wide margin in the preseason. 

Despite all this, the Cowboys began Week 1 with Elliott as their starter and they fed him a steady diet of carries.  While he got a very high total of 20 carries, Elliott was a disappointment as he rushed for just 51 yards (2.6 average) and lucked into a touchdown from in close.  He also was not a factor in the receiving game as he grabbed just two passes.  Week 2 was not much better as Elliott fumbled twice which overshadowed a better rushing game (83 yards on 21 carries) and then saw Morris come on to score a TD on an impressive drive.  So through two weeks of games Elliott was anything but a RB 1 he was drafted to be, while at the same time getting big heat from Morris. 

Week 3 though seemed to be a turning point for Elliott as he had his first 100-plus yard rushing game in picking up a massive 140 yards on 30 carries and chipped in another 2 catches.  The fact the Cowboys gave Elliott 30 carries showed that they were ready to take the training wheels off and make him the unqeustioned number 1 guy.  Yes the Chicago Bears defense is accomodating to everyone but it as still nice to see such a big game out of the kid.  So as we move to Week 4, Elliott's stock is moving northward and quickly.  He is not much of a factor yet in the passing game with just 6 catches but the running numbers have improved to an average of 3.9 per carry and he also has collected two scores.  While we still worry about the nonsense, Elliott is starting to show what all the hype was about. 


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