Dynasty Dilemma: Tony Pollard
By Bob Miller
It’s been an interesting offseason for the NFL and especially the Dallas Cowboys. The trade for wide receiver Brandin Cooks was an unexpected surprise however, the release of Ezekiel Elliott was not. Zeke was set to count for $16.7 million against the Cowboys’ salary cap in 2023 with his $10.9 million base salary not guaranteed. As a post-June 1 cut, his release will save the team his full salary against the cap.
“We have mutually agreed with Zeke that the best decision for everyone is that he will be able to experience free agency, and we can increase our flexibility and options as well," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. Elliott had four years remaining but no guaranteed money left on a six-year, $90 million extension he signed with the Cowboys in September 2019.
This was music to the ears of Tony Pollard owners everywhere. So the question is, should you be buying or selling him in your dynasty leagues? I’m here to give you my thoughts when it comes to this playmaking running back.
Pollard scored 248 fantasy points and finished as the overall RB7 this past season. Look at these stats:
Rushing Attempts: 193
Rushing Yards: 1007
Rushing Touchdowns: 9
Rec Yards: 371
Rec Touchdowns: 3
He did all of this as the 1B to Ezekiel Elliott’s 1A. And speaking of Zeke, he himself had 876 yards and 12 TDs on 231 attempts. Now that we take Zeke out of the equation, Pollard will now be that 1A instead of the 1B. So the question is, how productive will Pollard be? There’s a good chance he could be used the exact same way Los Angeles uses Austin Ekeler, making Pollard a real threat to finish as the overall RB1 this coming season. The sky is truly the limit for the Cowboys running back.
I have seen so many Tony Pollard trade questions, polls, and deals on Twitter.
I can't believe it's come to this but we gotta ask... Which player are you taking in Dynasty?
— Dynasty Domain (@domaindynasty) March 31, 2023
You'd have to think that Pollard out-produces Pittman, Deebo, and Hockenson. Yet, he finished last in the above poll. I know it's dynasty, but Pollard could be a league-winner this year. I just saw another trade go down where someone traded Cordarelle Patterson and the 2.02 for Pollard. I’m taking the upside of Pollard all day here. In fact, if you can get Pollard for a late 1st rookie pick, do it. You just can’t pass up the opportunity to roster a potential high end RB1.
Pollard was franchised by the Cowboys and will earn $10.09 million this coming season. By signing the franchise tag, Pollard and the Cowboys will have until July 17 to agree to a new contract, or he'll become a free agent again in 2024. With that being said, this presents a certain amount of risk. There are reports of the Cowboys trying to work out a long term deal, however Pollard will be 26 years old this coming season. How much money and how long does Dallas really want to invest in a 26 year old RB? He may not have as many miles as Zeke does, but the Zeke contract has to play a part in the decision making here. If he plays out this franchise tag year, he could end right back into a timeshare with another team.
The NFL Draft
With the uncertainty around Pollard's contract situation, the Cowboys have no choice but to take a running back in the upcoming NFL Draft. I don’t see Bijan Robinson being available at pick 26 for Dallas, however I could see Dallas moving up to get him if he were to slip. It’s a possibility, however very unlikely. I don’t see Dallas being a suiter for Jahmyr Gibbs, as he is the same type of player as Pollard. I can see Dallas taking Zach Charbonett, Izzy Abinikanda, or Roschon Johnson in the 3rd round. Either way it goes, a young running back will certainly dip into Pollard’s potential touches. Even though he was highly productive with Zeke in the picture, you can see a scenario where Dallas let’s Pollard walk after this year in favor of a cheap young running back.
With all this being said, I am absolutely shopping Pollard in every dynasty league I can. He's a hot name right now, and his value has never been higher. Take full advantage while you can, because if Dallas takes a solid running back in the NFL Draft, it will affect his overall value. Let’s face it, most Pollard owners had him rostered as their RB3 or RB4 or as a handcuff to Zeke. That means you’re playing with house money. Try to move Pollard to an RB needy team to get a high end wide receiver like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tee Higgins, or Garrett Wilson. If no luck there, try to package Pollard with a pick and move up to the 1.01 to select Bijan Robinson. If that doesn’t work, try to get a top 5 rookie pick, so you can take Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jahmir Gibbs, or a QB like Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. The fact of the matter is that you have some nice trade options when it comes to Tony Pollard. Take full advantage.
Bob Miller founded Dynasty Pros in 2019 after spending several years writing and ranking for various websites. Bob has been playing fantasy football for over 25 years. He is very experienced in a variety of different formats including Dynasty, Redraft, IDP, & Best Ball. Bob is especially passionate about IDP, as he has developed the Dynasty Pros IDP Scoring System that is used by thousands of IDP Leagues today. His sole mission is to help everyone win their Fantasy League’s Championship.