With football season quickly approaching, another amazing American tradition is coming with it: Fantasy football. Along with fantasy football, comes a lot of important questions: who should I draft first? Should I focus on Wide receivers or running backs? And the question I’ll hopefully answer today: Is Ezekiel Elliott worth a first round pick?
After a stellar rookie season for the fourth overall pick, a lot of news has been following the young Cowboys player. It seems like he can’t stay out of the news to save his life. Shortly after being drafted, Zeke was spotted at a marijuana shop during a team trip to Seattle. Later, a report was filed from his ex-girlfriend that he had been abusive to her during their relationship. Most recently, in early July, Elliott reportedly decked a DJ on a Sunday night in a club.
Whether you believe any of these events happened or were as bad as they were chalked up to be or not, the fact of the matter is that in the eyes of the league, Ezekiel Elliott is a problem. And although nothing has happened yet, the idea of a looming suspension is terrifying to the entire Cowboys Nation. Jerry Jones has gone as far as to say he doesn’t believe a suspension is coming, however with Roger Goodell, you never know.
Now with all this laid onto the table, the question is brought up on whether or not Zeke is worth a first round pick. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott was the second highest scoring running back, and the 9th highest overall, according to ESPN. Assuming he receives a 2-game suspension, he would’ve lost 27.9 points, and would’ve fallen to the third highest ranked RB and the 22nd highest ranked player in the NFL. Looking solely at that, no, Zeke isn’t worth a first or second round draft pick.
Looking at the Cowboys themselves, the offensive line has taken quite the hit in the offseason. Losing the leader of the position group in Doug Free and a very solid left guard in Ron Leary really hurt the Cowboys’ strongest position group, which could in turn hurt Ezekiel Elliott’s fantasy performance. Not to say that Zeke is nothing without his offensive line, because he surely is a beast of a running back, but this does play a major role in his development.
Beyond all this, Elliott has immense upside: he’s young, has three of the best offensive lineman in the league blocking for him, a run-first offense, and a young QB next to him to help him along. If your draft is sooner rather than later, try to pull for him to be your second round pick. If your draft is after the point where the NFL can suspend him, pull the trigger and try to take him. Even if he is suspended for two or four games, Zeke has the mindset to come back from that to take it to the league. I expect huge numbers from him, do you? Leave your predictions down in the comments on how you think Elliott will do this year.