If Ezekiel Elliott’s current ADP (average draft position) is any indication, fantasy owners are not taking the running back’s holdout seriously. Elliott is the fourth player off the board in fantasy football drafts, per Fantasy Pros.
Unless Elliott reaches an agreement with the Cowboys, you will not find the running back on any of my teams. As CBS Sports’ Dave Richard points out, there are too many good available players to take a chance on someone this early who is holding out. DeAndre Hopkins, David Johnson, James Conner, Michael Thomas, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are all players that I would take over Elliott in light of his current holdout situation.
There is always the chance that Elliott is indeed bluffing and has no plans to miss any games with the Cowboys. Even so, the chances of Elliott massively outproducing the running backs mentioned above is low. Unless injury derails their season, Johnson, Conner, Gurley and Chubb should all be firmly in the RB1 category at the end of the season.
The Cowboys Are “Confident” That They Will Reach a Deal With Zeke
Part of the reason Elliott is still going high in drafts is the number of positive reports that have come out during the negotiations. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told 105.3 the Fan that the team is “confident” they will reach a deal with Elliott.
“I don’t think we’re close because there’s not a lot of activity,” Jones noted to 105.3 the Fan. “…We feel confident things will get done. Things happen real quick, sometime within hours.”
Does this mean you should use a first-round pick on Elliott? There are plenty of other opportunities to take a risk during the draft, but your first pick does not have to be one of these moments. Days after Jones’ comments, reports came out that his father owner Jerry Jones is expecting Elliott to miss games during the season.
If Elliott Falls in Your Draft, Be Prepared to Make Your Leaguemates Pay
While I would avoid taking Elliott in the first round, there is a point where Elliott’s risk makes sense. Even if Elliott misses games, all signs point to him returning sooner rather than later. Judging by his current ADP, it is unlikely the Cowboys running back is going to fall out of the first two round, but if he does you should consider taking him.
Zeke Wants to Be a “Cowboy for the Rest of My Life”
Elliott has been mostly quiet as he is awaiting a new deal from the Cowboys. Maxim recently published a story where the running back opened up in an interview conducted a month ago. Elliott noted he wanted to be a Cowboys player for his career but understands the complicated nature of the business.
“I love playing for the Dallas Cowboys, I love the organization, my teammates. I do want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life and hopefully that’s a possibility,” Elliott told Maxim. “But even Emmitt Smith, the greatest running back ever, ended up going to play a couple of years for another organization. So it’s just the nature of the game, but I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for as long as I can.”
There’s plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to Elliott returning to the football field. There are also plenty of other great options that I prefer in the first round, but the Cowboys running back is worth taking a chance on if he slips out of the first couple rounds.