It has been a season of highs and lows for Ezekiel Elliott fantasy football owners.
Words can’t even describe the feelings of jubilation fantasy owners must have felt after risking a draft pick on Elliott and seeing his six-game suspension postponed with a temporary injunction. Those feelings likely turned to angst on Thursday after it was announced a federal appeals court had overturned the decision and reinstated the suspension.
Those who wisely traded Elliott a few weeks ago for a good return are grinning from ear to ear. Everyone else is scrambling to find a suitable replacement for one of the best fantasy players in the NFL.
The bad news: There is no replacement for Elliott. Despite the Dallas Cowboys’ recent struggles, Elliott was still one of the best options at the running back in the league. There was hope he’d be even better coming off a bye week with the offense finally refreshed.
Now, Elliott will have plenty of time to freshen up when serving his six-week suspension. As for the Cowboys, the onus will fall on either Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden to lead the way in the offensive backfield. Both should be available in deep leagues, but the problem is deciding which player will serve as Elliott’s temporary successor.
It’s easy to assume Morris will get the majority of the carries. He has been active as the No. 2 option behind Elliott so far this season. Meanwhile, McFadden hasn’t been handed a single snap as a healthy scratch the first five games of the season.
“I felt like I had a decent training camp,” McFadden told Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “I was healthy all camp. I felt like I had a decent preseason. Coaches made the decision, man. I’m not in the meetings when they talk about it. I’m sure they saw something. I can’t take anything away from any of our backs. They all had great camps. I’m sure they seen something they wanted to do and they decided.”
Morris won the backup job in training camp, and he is the favorite to inherit the bulk of snaps in Elliott’s absence.
However, don’t sleep on McFadden.
The veteran back is only two years removed from a season with the Cowboys when he ran for 1,089 yards and three touchdowns, while also hauling in 40 receptions for 328 yards. His versatility and experience as a featured back in the offense are the main reasons why he’ll likely resume his duties as the lead back. Expect the Cowboys to ease him into the offense for the next few weeks before finally turning him loose.
Morris works well as a change-of-pace option, which is probably why the Cowboys made the decision to go with him over McFadden in the first place. That won’t be the case without Elliott on the field.
When in doubt, the Cowboys will go back to what they know.
- 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacates Ezekiel Elliott’s initial injunction
- What’s wrong with Dallas’ defense?
- Is Ezekiel Elliott back on track for Dallas?