Find out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s reaction to the Ezekiel Elliott news.
We’ve been hearing the rumor mill for a couple of months now that a suspension could be looming for the 2nd year starter Ezekiel Elliott. On Friday morning, the hammer finally dropped and the NFL has officially suspended Elliott for 6 games without pay for his alleged role in a domestic violence case from last July. This was the news that both Cowboys fans and fantasy football fans alike were dreading. Most had only hoped for a 2 game suspension, but the NFL acted in a much larger disciplinary way. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network was given the official statement and put it out on Twitter for the public in this tweet below:
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 11, 2017
Since both Zeke and his agent knew this was coming down the pipe, they had planned to appeal the suspension from the start and now have 3 business days to do so with 10 days for a hearing to be held. The statement was launched on twitter through Patrick Claybon of the NFL Network who was able to get it to the public with an immediate response and rebuttal from the agent with this below:
Statement from Ezekiel Elliott's agent:
"findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions" pic.twitter.com/awcaFsG7ET
— Patrick Claybon (@PatrickClaybon) August 11, 2017
Fantasy Reaction: Cowboys Offense
With the news of this coming down and the likelihood of having the suspension reduced or dropped to be slim, the Cowboys will have to move forward. Luckily for them, they still boast one of the better offensive lines in the league with PFF ranking them the 9th best O-line of the 2017 season. The big question mark is La’el Collins moving to right tackle. The tackle position was his more natural college position, but his below-average performance at guard isn’t too encouraging. If he can step up as well as incoming free agent Jonathan Cooper from the Browns, than any runner in the backfield of Dallas will have enough time and opportunity to make some plays and eat up some yards on the ground.
Enter Run DMC himself; Darren McFadden. So far McFadden has stayed healthy and hasn’t broken any hands or other extremities while dropping his phone. In 2015 in 10 games, he was able to put up a stat line of 1,089 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. That is very fantasy relevant and as reported by ESPN through Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, McFadden is expected to start in Ezekiel Elliott’s (suspension) absence for the first six games of the regular season. This is where it gets tricky for re-draft purposes. With the news, Elliott will no longer be in the first round and could drop as low as the 3rd round. So for the fantasy player that wants him, you will have to buy high on McFadden to be sure you handcuff the Dallas run game. This means you won’t be able to take some of your favorites near those 4-7th rounds in order to lock in both players.
This is also going be a test for the sophomore season of QB Dak Prescott, who relied heavily on Elliott to help balance the offensive attack of the Cowboys and would often rely on the run to run over defenses for early leads. Dak is a talented quarterback and with weapons such as Dez Bryant, and two amazing slot receivers in Cole “Beasles” Beasley and rookie wideout Ryan Switzer from the University of North Carolina. Prescott also has been proven to use his own run game to score near the goal line and to extend plays and get those harder yards on 3rd and 4th downs to keep the conversions coming. Dak will likely stay in the later rounds of drafts or drop back further from his ADP of the 5th pick of the 10th round to possibly one more round into the 11th.
This is also good news for Dez Bryant who will now be required to be more of the leader on offense and produce to keep the Cowboys ahead of their opponents. The only catch is Dez will be going head to head against some the NFL’s most elite cornerbacks in the league this year according to PFF and reported by one of the podcast’s favorite guys in Scott Barrett.
Fantasy Reaction: Ezekiel Elliott
This comes as a big blow for Elliott owners in every format of fantasy football. Add to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have a Week 6 bye, meaning Zeke will not see the field until Week 8. That is a long time to keep him in the wings in a bench spot on your fantasy teams, hoping your team survives for that long of a duration before you can throw him back into your lineups. a For dynasty owners out there, it’s a tad easier to hold onto him and hope you can make some moves to obtain a runner that can suffice in the meantime, or be making a play for McFadden. But for re-drafters, like stated before, if you really want Elliott, you are gonna have to pay up for both him and McFadden in order to have a successful season. I would also look at a strategy of snagging a top RB in the first and a solid performing WR in the 2nd before making the leap for Elliott and McFadden.