The Ezekiel Elliott-holdout saga has finally come to an end. The star runner agreed to a contract that would make him the highest-paid running back in NFL history on September 4. Fantasy gamers who took a chance on Zeke in their drafts are rejoicing. Those who picked Tony Pollard — not so much.
With both running backs in the fold now, what can we expect in Week 1? Matt Harmon gives his take.
Zeke is an obvious start in a plus matchup against the New York Giants in Week 1, but already reports of a reduced workload for him have surfaced. Recall, holdout veteran Le’Veon Bell collected 10 carries and three catches for 47 total yards Week 1 in 2017, and Matt thinks a similar workload could be in store for Elliott. Maybe that turns out to be something in the realm of 13-15 touches.
Make no mistake: Zeke’s gonna be ready to go, but it remains to be seen whether he’s in football shape (he has spent the summer training, however). All that said, Matt still thinks Zeke is a must-start option — let’s face it, there’s not many options out there better than Zeke — but fantasy gamers should probably build their lineup around the idea that he might not have a monster performance based on volume. Consider starting a high-ceiling player in your FLEX spot to offset any reduced workload Elliott receives.
And what about Tony Pollard? Bad luck, considering how the Zeke situation unfolded. Hopefully, fantasy gamers didn’t reach too high for him. Matt still thinks Pollard can be used in Week 1, especially if Elliott doesn’t get a full workload as expected. Pollard is worth stashing — don’t drop him just because you’re upset of how this all turned out. Leave him at the end of your bench, and monitor the situation in the Dallas backfield closely as the weeks pass.