Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie phenomenon from 2016, is on track to miss the first six games of the NFL season due to a suspension. If you put that alongside his bye week in week six, Zeke won’t be able to return to action until week eight of the regular season. That’s a big loss for most fantasy owners, as he’ll be out for around three quarters of your fantasy regular season. The million dollar question is: Is Ezekiel Elliott still worth a first round pick?
The case for the first round: Some people still think that Zeke is worth the first round pick. He was the rushing leader from last season and when he returns he’ll be behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Elliott has proven to be a legitimate threat in this league and has cemented himself as a top five back in the NFL today.
The first round is the most important round in fantasy football but in every draft there will be players who bust and don’t live up to expectations. Zeke won’t be one of those players when he comes back. You know what you’re getting when you draft Ezekiel Elliott. You’ll get a stud running back who puts up 15+ fantasy points on a consistent basis.
Another reason why people think that Ezekiel Elliott is worth a first round pick is because of the rumors that his suspension will be reduced from six games. Elliott already filed for appeal and testified at his appeal hearing, and rumors say that we can expect a decision as soon as Monday.
If the appeal drags on, we could see Zeke suit up week one and maybe more but it looks like this appeal will be a short one. Zeke’s status doesn’t change if his suspension is only reduced one game but if he’s only suspended for two to four games, he’s worth a look in the first round for sure.
The case to wait in your draft: The better decision when it comes to Ezekiel Elliott is to wait until the third or fourth round in most drafts. If you wait on Zeke, you have the ability to pick up one stud running back and one stud receiver to have a good core for your team once the season starts.
The problem with Zeke’s suspension is you’ll have to handcuff Darren Mcfadden in your draft, and his ADP has now risen over the past two weeks and he’s a clear RB2 when Elliott isn’t on the field. McFadden had one of his best seasons as a pro when he was the lead back in Dallas rushing for over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns.
Once Zeke returns and you already have a first round running back, you’ll be in a prime position to win your fantasy championship. It won’t be hard to win your last few weeks of the regular seasons with two stud running backs and a stud receiver and once you get to the playoffs, you should be in a good position to win it all.
People are talking about not drafting Ezekiel Elliott altogether which is a mistake. The Cowboys have the ninth easiest schedule for running backs and a great offensive line in a run-heavy offense. Ezekiel Elliott should be on every team in your league but you should wait to take him if his six-game suspension holds up. If it is in fact reduced to two to four games, then taking him in the first round is more acceptable. The better option is still to wait until the third and reap the rewards.
Courtesy image courtesy of Ezekiel Elliott (Photo by:espn.com)