Ezekiel Elliott suspension upheld, chaos ensues in Fantasyland

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Zeke owners are seriously wincing after Thursday’s court ruling. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Zeke owners are seriously wincing after Thursday’s court ruling. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Those risk takers who played with fire on Zeke Elliott in August drafts or acquired him recently via trade may have just gotten burned.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court sided with the NFL, upholding the prized rusher’s six-game suspension. Naturally, in every fantasy league across the country, a mad waiver wire dash ensued as owners rushed to assess the availability of Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and even Rod Smith.

The energy spent may be for naught, as Elliott’s lawyers could decide to file another injunction in New York or Texas delaying the inevitable. Still, with running backs falling like flies due to underperformance or injury, any rusher tied to the Cowboys is widely considered a premium option.

What should owners do? Here’s what the Yahoo Fantasy team believes:

In a case that simply won’t die, Thursday’s earth-shattering news places fantasy owners in an uncompromising position. Alfred Morris, who looked vintage in limited action (8-87-0 over three games), is the presumed beneficiary if Elliott decides to serve the suspension or is unable to acquire another injunction. But Morris as the bellcow is simply not that cut and dry. It’s conceivable Darren McFadden, a healthy scratch in every game this year, was purposely preserved for this moment. He was effective in 2015, but the 29-year-old looked pedestrian during the Preseason. Rod Smith, an excellent pass-catcher and favorite of the coaching staff, also remains in the mix. In other words, a full-blown committee could form causing massive weekly headaches.

At this juncture, adding both Morris and DMC is recommended for those in dire need of RB assistance. Dallas has the 13th-easiest remaining schedule for fantasy RBs, though the offensive line, long considered impenetrable, ranks outside the top-20 in run-blocking efficiency according to several metric sites. I’m not dropping a high-upside option like a Marlon Mack, Aaron Jones or Jerick McKinnon for what’s essentially a complicated puzzle with no clear answer. And if you do pluck any Dallas backup from free agency, the smart move entails spinning off either DMC or Alf to an ardent believer.  — Brad Evans

And we take another lap on the never-ending story.

I’m not a lawyer, far from it. This story is far from finished. But my sense is that the value of Alfred Morris and/or Darren McFadden is likely overstated. Both of those players are removed from their salad days, and most importantly, the Dallas offensive-line has fallen significantly.

If you landed Morris or DMC as a free handcuff or lottery ticket, I’d try to shop them while optimism is floating around. The only Dallas offensive player who really puts a bounce in my step at the moment is QB Dak Prescott. — Scott Pianowski 

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