Dynasty Dilemma: Ezekiel Elliot
By Tommy Harvey
Ezekiel Elliott was an immediate success for the Cowboys after being selected 4th overall in 2016 out of Ohio State. The former Buckeye made the Pro Bowl and was named an All-Pro in his rookie season. After serving a suspension in his 2nd season, he again made the Pro Bowl in his 3rd season. Since then, however, his production and health have declined. So we have to ask the question: What is Elliott's dynasty value moving forward?
The Reason to Sell
Zeke has had a litany of issues since he entered the league. A suspension in his 2nd season cost him 6 games, his volume has decreased every season, and he has become less durable over his career.
Elliott's yards per game production has declined every year since he entered the NFL. From a staggering 108.7 ypg in his rookie season to a career low 58.9 ypg last season, Zeke has regressed. Even though he played in all 17 games in 2021, Elliot barely squeaked over the 1,000 yard mark (1,002).
In a lot of people's eyes, Elliott was outplayed by backup RB Tony Pollard last season. Pollard averaged 5.5 yards per carry compared to Zeke's 4.2 ypc. He also only averaged 11 ypg less than Elliot on less than 9 carries per game (Zeke averaged more than 4 carries more per game).
Reasons to Buy
It's not all bad for Ezekiel Elliot. He is the starting RB on one of the best offenses in the NFL. That means opportunities in the passing game and plenty of chances to score TDs. Both of which he has taken advantage of in his career.
Zeke was the overall RB6 in PPR leagues in 2021. There is nothing wrong with having a RB1 on your team. He secured 47 receptions on 65 targets and found the endzone a total of 12 combined times last season.
Untradeable for the Cowboys
After signing a massive 6-year/$90 million deal prior to the 2019 season, Elliott's dead cap number ($30.08 million in 2022) makes it virtually impossible for Dallas to trade him. They would lose nearly $12 million against their cap if they were to trade or cut him. If they waited until next season to cut him, they would actually save close to $5 million. Thus, he should be remaining in Dallas in 2022.
Ezekiel Elliott has been a tremendous RB for the Cowboys since he entered the league. He has surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in 4 of his 6 seasons (he would have in his 2nd season if not for a 6 game suspension). He is a TD scorer, scoring 68 total TDs in his career.
In my opinion, however, his best football is behind him. His ypg regression and volume decrease is highly alarming and the fact Dallas has another very capable and less expensive RB makes Zeke expendable in the future.