By Rob Schwarz (@chiruxindfs)
We have been waiting for this news for quite awhile now. Some true believers dared to not care and kept Ezekiel Elliott as their number one or number two back. Others, who were a little smarter, kept Zeke as the third back to own. But where now?
As news broke last week that the suspension should be given soon and that the amount of games were going to range from one game to four games, I instantly moved Zeke behind LeSean McCoy in my rankings. Many other people dropped him further, but I figured if I could get Zeke in the second round, I would be fine with a four game absence. Then today the rumors flew that the amount of games could wind up being six! Ugh, what to do with that information? Well the rumors came true and boom, six games it is!
Depending on if your fantasy league ends in Week 15 or Week 16, six games could be almost half the season. Last year we saw LeVeon Bell miss four games, but still finished as the third best running back to own with FLAFFL scoring (and I would assume most scoring). So does that mean we should still consider Elliott? Damn right it does!
The question is, where do we draft him? After thinking it over, I moved Elliott down in my rankings and he is now below the likes of Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard and Devonta Freeman. I still have Zeke as my RB9 and within my second tier. At this spot, he is going to be a late, second-round option for me in a 12-team draft. I am not moving him lower, but I’d love his value at the top of the third round if he drops. This could happen in drafts depending on who is in your league.
Now, before everyone overreacts, let's think about it. What combination sounds better to you after four rounds? Which do you have more confidence in? LeSean McCoy., Ezekiell Elliott, Demaryius Thomas and say a Keenan Allen type. Or, LeSean McCoy, Lamar Miller, Demaryius Thomas and Keenan Allen?
Personally, I’m taking Elliott over Miller. Why? Well, I look at it this way. I have more faith in Elliott being a RB1 weekly over Miller. Yes, I miss out on six weeks, but I have confidence in myself to put together a good enough team to withstand those six weeks. Now enter Week 7. I have a dominant running back duo (as long as McCoy stays healthy). The upside of Elliott from Week 7 until the playoffs is enough for me to take a chance on him. I can even consider trying to cuff Darren McFadden if he’s available later. Even if I cannot snag him, there are enough backs like Spencer Ware or Dalvin Cook who could prop me up the first six weeks.
My point is, do not jump ship from Elliott. Obviously, move him down your board. Obviously, do not draft him too early. Instead, try to steal him at a cheaper price and reap the rewards from it later into the season and into the playoffs. Not to mention, Elliott is going to appeal the suspension. There is hope it is reduced to four games (not much hope, but some). There is hope that maybe the suspension gets pushed back an entire year as they fight it out in court (we all know that Commissioner Goodell will win in court eventually, right Tom Brady?). The thing is, none of that matters to me. I am honestly more interested in Ezekiel Elliott today than I was yesterday!