Ezekiel Elliott has been a top fantasy football running back since he entered the league in 2016. He was part of a revival of the three-down back, after they were pronounced dead prematurely. His ability to both catch the ball and rush have continued to allow running backs to reign supreme in fantasy football, even with most leagues leaning towards PPR scoring. Elliott is expected to have yet another successful fantasy year and reward those who take him, likely as a top-three pick.
Ezekiel Elliott 2020 Fantasy Football Profile
Elliott somehow had a relatively quiet season last year. However, he was as reliable as ever, logging his third 300-plus carry season in his four-year career. He also averaged at least 4.5 yards-per-carry and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground. And he continued to show his versatility with his second-best receiving year, racking up 54 catches for 420 yards and two more touchdowns. This was enough to give him the RB4 finish in half-point PPR leagues.
But part of what gives Elliott his value in fantasy is his consistency and his high floor. Elliott’s lowest yardage total last year was 63, which he had twice. His lowest fantasy points in a game was 6.8, which was also his only game under 10 points. Aaron Jones finished ahead of him as the RB2, but he was a lot more volatile. Jones had five games with less than 50 yards and ten fantasy points. Elliott may not have had as many blowup games, but he probably didn’t lose players a lot of matchups either.
Coming into 2020, the team has most of its core of players intact. Owner Jerry Jones was somehow able to keep its trio of offensive talent intact, locking down Amari Cooper for the next four years, and at least getting Dak Prescott to sign his a one-year franchise tag. The team was probably content at that point to go into the draft and work on their defense in the first round. However, arguably the top wide receiver of the draft class fell right into their laps, CeeDee Lamb.
This gives the Dallas Cowboys even more weapons to work with. Now Dallas has Cooper, Lamb, and Michael Gallup to garner the attention of defenses. Having Cooper and company as threats to go downfield is something that has helped Elliott in his career. Despite being an elite runner, Elliott only faced stacked boxes just over 19 percent of his carries. Other top backs like Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette face stacked boxes more 30 percent of the time.
The biggest wild card could be the retirement of center Travis Frederick. He was one of the best centers in the league, a key cog to Elliott’s success. Frederick also missed the 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, where Joe Looney started in his place and played relatively well. Looney is the top candidate to replace him, so they’ll hope he will continue to be serviceable, while the team develops a more long-term replacement.
Ezekiel Elliott ADP and Value
Elliott’s value is one of the most straightforward of all players this year. He is basically the consensus number three pick, behind Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. And he should be drafted there. Don’t get cute and pass him up for a wide receiver like Michael Thomas or Tyreek Hill. Even Patrick Mahomes won’t provide the type of value as Elliott in the top-three. He doesn’t quite have the blowup potential of Barkley and McCaffrey, but he is as reliable as they come and has been healthy basically his entire career.
And one other interesting thing to think of in terms of his health is that he has already tested positive for COVID-19. While it has not been proven that a person cannot catch the virus twice, it does decrease his chances of actually missing games due to this compared to other players.
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