You can put Ezekiel Elliott in your fantasy lineup today, but things are unclear for the rest of the season. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Elliott will appear in another hearing on October 30 to decide his fate.
This means Elliott will play in Week 7 against the 49ers and the Giants in Week 8. He is able to play next week as the trial will not have happened yet. However, Rapoport also reported the NFL wants to move the trial date up three days to October 27. If this happened, it would put Elliott’s status in doubt for next week’s game against the Giants.
The Dallas Morning News’ Kate Hairopoulos explained why Elliott is able to play this week.
Where we stand right now as of Tuesday night a federal judge in New York issued Zeke a temporary restraining order (TRO) which allowed him to return to the star and to play at least this Sunday. Before he got that TRO he was not even allowed to step foot in the star.
For Cowboys fans, this is good news as Dallas looks to dig out of a 2-3 hole. It is more complicated for fantasy owners. If Elliott’s suspension is upheld at the October 30th hearing, it means Elliott would miss Weeks 9-14. This would make Elliott available when the majority of fantasy playoffs take place in Weeks 15 and 16. However, this could really hurt a team that is trying to make a playoff push, as your team could be without Elliott for six crucial games.
If your team doesn’t make the playoffs, by the time Elliott returns it will be too late to help your fantasy team. CBS Sports legal analyst Amy Dash believes Elliott will end up playing the rest of the season. Dash details on her blog why Elliott has a strong case.
This means he will definitely play out this season. How do I know? Because the subbing Judge paved the way for that very result in two ways.
First, the Judge who issued the temporary hold wrote in his opinion that Zeke met the standard for a temporary restraining order and then said that the standard is exactly the same for a permanent hold. The standard is quite simply the Judge asking himself this: If I don’t put a hold on this suspension, will Zeke suffer irreparable harm (harm that can’t be fixed through monetary compensation) and if I do grant the hold, will the NFL suffer irreparable harm?
…Judge said, the case hasn’t been heard and there were sufficient and significant questions about the fairness of the League’s arbitration process. If you’ve been following this case you know why, 1. there’s evidence that league executives tried to hide its lead investigator’s conclusion that Zeke shouldn’t be suspended, 2. Zeke couldn’t cross-examine his own accuser because she wasn’t required to testify and 3. Neither was league commissioner Roger Goodell. So the Judge is saying, there’s a legit case here and it needs to be heard by a court of law.
Fantasy owners face a difficult decision. You could try to trade Elliott, but you are not going to get great value in return. The best move is to hold tight, but hopefully you have given yourself some insurance by picking up Darren McFadden and/or Alfred Morris.