Another day, another supposedly “official” ruling in the case of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension. On Monday night, a judge denied a request for an injunction, and the most-discussed six-game suspension ever for violating the league’s personal conduct policy was apparently back on, though I feel like we’ve been here before.
Why, yes, we have been! Is it possible that this time the suspension is really going to happen this season, perhaps starting this week, and we won’t see Elliott until Week 15? Yes, that is possible. But the lawyers aren’t finished and can still appeal again, so I’ll believe it when I see it.
Assuming the league gets what it seemingly wants and one of the most prolific running backs in the sport has to miss the next six games, it’s obviously frustrating for fantasy managers, as Elliott was a second-round selection in ESPN average live drafts (if you take ADP from opening night), and over the past two weeks, he has rushed for 297 yards and four touchdowns for the 4-3 Cowboys. However, the Cowboys have nine games remaining, so the simple math is that Elliott would return for the final three games against the Raiders, Seahawks and Eagles and in the heart of the fantasy playoffs. It should be clear that it isn’t wise to send Elliott, no matter your thoughts on this process or what he did to spark it, to your league’s free agency.
As for how the Cowboys will replace Elliott in their backfield, should they actually need to do so, the team employs veterans Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith and could, by the way, make a trade before Tuesday’s deadline. The organization and the reporters covering the organization have been stating for a while that the Cowboys intend to present a committee approach to running the football, and while fantasy managers don’t like seeing that, it does make sense.
McFadden hasn’t been active for a game this season, though let’s remember he rushed for 1,089 yards in 2015 and was a top-10 fantasy running back. Morris and Smith have combined for 23 carries this season. Whom should you add in your league? All of them? None of them? Honestly, if I had to pick one, it would still be McFadden, who should be well-rested, at the least. I suspect that if Elliott cannot suit up Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cowboys would give each running back opportunities and see what happens, while quarterback Dak Prescott would probably throw for 400 yards, considering that’s the Chiefs’ actual defensive weakness.
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