Where Will He Land?
It was announced yesterday (August 13) that Dallas Cowboys second year running back Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended for the first six games of the 2017 NFL season. He’s coming off a stellar rookie season finishing first in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. Many people had Elliott as the unanimous number one pick in fantasy football leagues before the suspension but after the decision by commissioner Goodell where will Ezekiel Elliott go in your fantasy draft?
Drafting during an Appeal:
If your fantasy draft is scheduled to happen before the appeal of Ezekiel Elliott is concluded you are in a really tough spot when it comes to drafting Elliott. Based on last year if you had the number one pick of this years fantasy draft in your league and did not select Ezekiel Elliott you would be considered a crazy person, but now with the suspension looming over his head is he a safe bet? Looking at recent suspensions in the NFL appeals usually take forever and never really make any sense.
Tom Brady was suspended for four games of the 2016 season for something that happened back in 2015, he played an entire season fighting the NFL in court. In 2016 Tom Brady’s average draft position dropped down to 69th while facing his suspension according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com.
There is another example one can look at from last season in Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’veon Bell and his suspension he faced. His average draft position in 2016 fell down to 11th in the NFL which on paper was a big drop as he was considered to be the number one running back fantasy-wise at the beginning of the 2016 season and his suspension was only three games.
What does this mean for Elliott and people who want to pick him this year? It means that there is a chance that the appeals process takes so long that Elliott is allowed to play until the process is completed. But there is another risk going this route if Elliott is allowed to play until the appeal process is finished: What happens if the appeal closes halfway through the season and you lose your number one fantasy producer for the playoffs? This also means he will drop down boards but when is too early or too late to go for the stud sophomore.
Taking A Risk:
As we have seen with other suspended players in the past they will drop down draft boards because of the loss of production not being able to play. With a player the caliber of Ezekiel Elliott it’s hard to see him dropping out of the top 15 even with the potential loss of six games. The reason is because when he does inevitably return he is in the best situation for a fantasy running back in the entire league.
The Cowboys arguably have the best offensive line in the NFL and a young capable quarter back in Dak Prescott that will continue to put Elliott in a position to excel. It will be interesting to see where he will go as the appeal process continues and as of today (August 14) Ezekiel Elliott is currently averaging the 8th pick in 2017 fantasy leagues but I am not sure if it’s counting leagues that drafted before the suspension was handed out.
This is probably the biggest shakeup in fantasy football I have ever seen, right before most leagues are set to draft, the fate of one of the best players in football is uncertain. When I draft I will certainly be looking out for Elliott to drop around the tenth pick and would certainly pull the trigger on a late first round pick for the running back. If it was certain he would not be suspended then I would take him at anywhere in the first three picks and couldn’t see him dropping past that. With the suspension I could see him dropping as far as the 15th pick, but for him to drop further than that would be a big surprise to me. Overall, the situation with Ezekiel Elliott is strange and only time will tell how many games the star running back will play this year.
Featured image by: sportingnews.com
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