After the latest Ezekiel Elliott appeal hearing, Elliott is slated to miss the next six games as he serves his suspension. This has left confused fantasy owners trying to figure out which Cowboys running back to pick up for your fantasy team.
On a local radio interview (via CBS Dallas), Jerry Jones elaborated on the Cowboys plan of action without Elliott.
It’s fair to say that this is a takeaway for the Cowboys. That’s almost trite. On the other hand, what kind of job have we done to prepare if you don’t have Zeke. But what we have done in my view is really and not only [Alfred] Morris and [Darren] McFadden, but we got [Rod] Smith that’s also a really big back that’s impressed everybody.
It’s not that simple but certainly he’ll get more carries and McFadden should be a big part of this thing, and like I said Rod Smith is a big part of it too.
Essentially, Jones said a lot without saying much of anything. Since this off-season, I’ve been advising people to prioritize Morris over McFadden. In leagues where I can, I am picking up both, as I do not think it is clear which back will get the most carries. Especially in leagues where I own Elliott, I am doing everything in my power to own both backs to protect myself as best I can.
Based on this season’s workload and Jones comments, Morris is expected to be the starting Cowboys running back. However, Dallas is likely headed to a dreaded running-back-by-committee where carries are divided up among all three backs. The caliber of the Cowboys offensive line means we could see a situation where both Morris and McFadden become fantasy relevant.
If I can only pick one, Morris is the guy by a slight margin over McFadden. Like most analysts, Cowboys podcast host Bryan Broaddus noted in mid-October he expected McFadden to be the lead back if Elliott missed time.
In recent weeks, the evidence has appeared to shift towards Morris being the running back to own. McFadden has not had a carry this season, and has been on the inactive list several times this season. While it is not a large amount, Morris has had 13 carries for 105 yards this season.
While neither back is as talented as Elliott, the Cowboys are second in the league in rushing yards per game with 150.6 yards.
Based on the ESPN data, both players are un-owned in most leagues with Morris (30% ownership) slightly more available than McFadden (34.7% ownership). Both players are worth owning so pick up whoever is available in your league.