With the NFL season drawing near, should fantasy football players draft Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott number one overall?
With just nine Sundays left before the NFL season is back in action, it seems like a good time to start focusing on fantasy football. Since it’s never to early to build a champion, I’m here to help you do just that.
Of course, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, if you can win with players from your favorite team, that makes things even sweeter. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll examine which Cowboys you should draft at which time.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that there are several different ways a fantasy league can be set up. I will occasionally discuss point per reception leagues but the focus will be on standard leagues.
Any totals that will be referenced will be based on the following scoring system. One point per 10 yards rushing. One point per 10 yards receiving. Six points for any touchdown and -2 points for any fumble. When we discuss quarterbacks, this will change slightly but this will be the standard.
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Today we will focus on the player that you should absolutely consider drafting first overall.
It has long been a staple of fantasy football to acquire running backs as soon as possible. Even with the changes in philosophy gearing more towards the passing game, you need a stud rusher.
Ezekiel Elliott most certainly fits that description.
In Elliott’s rookie campaign, he put up 1,631 yards rushing with 363 yards receiving and 16 total touchdowns. He lost just one fumble all year. With 293 points, that is definitely someone you can consider a pillar of your fantasy team.
There is no doubt that Elliott is a first round pick. He’s probably even a no-brainer for the top five. Here’s the real question, though. Should you draft Ezekiel Elliott with the first overall pick if you happen to have it?
As far as running backs are concerned, it’s my belief that there are four guys deserving of this consideration. Besides Elliott, you have to also be thinking about Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh. There is also David Johnson in Arizona and DeMarco Murray in Tennessee.
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Bell may be the best of the bunch when it comes to fantasy, solely due to his receiving prowess. Last season, 616 of his 1,884 total yards came by way of the pass. If you were in a point per reception league, he’d definitely be the best choice.
There are a few things to be concerned about with Bell though. For one, he’s only totaled more than 10 touchdowns once in four seasons. For another, his receiving yards tend to go down in odd-numbered years. Finally, he has been suspended twice for marijuana.
Solely due to the touchdown issue, his best season only produced 288 fantasy points or five less than Elliott’s 2016 season.
Johnson is another overall stat monster. Last year he 2,118 rushing and receiving yards while adding 20 touchdowns to the mix. With 321 fantasy points, he was the best option in 2016.
The biggest concern when it comes to Johnson is his propensity for fumbling. In just two seasons, he already has nine fumbles. Yes, it’s just negative two points each time, but if he doesn’t clean that up, it’s feasible to see his carries diminish.
Lastly, there is ex-Cowboys rusher DeMarco Murray. After his abysmal season in Philadelphia, he showed what he’s capable of again in Tennessee. If you throw out the anomaly in 2015, Murray has produced three straight seasons of double-digit touchdowns and 1,450+ yards.
The worry with Murray is two-fold. For one, he shares carries with a younger back. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to see that inch closer to a time share situation. The other is that the numbers he puts up are not as eye popping as the others.
Ultimately, that number one spot comes down to Johnson versus Elliott for me. When you have a coin flip, I would lean towards the guy I would prefer to root for each week. I have nothing against Johnson, but he’s not a Cowboy.
At the end of the day, you absolutely should draft Ezekiel Elliott number one overall. If he falls to you at two or even three, even better.