It’s never too early to talk fantasy football. In this series ‘fantasy football outlook’, we will examine the stock of the top rookies drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft while diagnosing their respective roles with their new teams.
To kick off this series, we will be looking at none other than the highest non-QB skill position player taken in the draft. After being drafted by the Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott instantly became a star in the fantasy scene despite not yet playing an NFL down. He’s the most hyped rookie in fantasy in recent memory, and for good reason.
When you consider Elliott’s overall skillset along with the supporting cast built around him in Dallas, especially up front on the offensive line, the sky is the limit for this young buck. Elliott gained a lot of momentum leading up to the draft after a good showing at the combine and the lack of complete RBs in this year’s class.
Looking at the depth chart, Elliott will be the day one starter in Dallas; I mean, they didn’t take him over Jalen Ramsey with the 4th pick for him to sit behind guys like Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden. Elliott finds himself in an ideal fit with the Cowboys. They had a down year production wise out of the backfield, and Jerry Jones would love nothing more than to see DeMarco Murray-esque production. While I don’t see Elliott receiving the volume of carries like Murray did during his historic 2014 run, Zeke will still be among the top performers among running backs in the league this season.
Initially, the Cowboys may look to ease him into the starting RB and feed him between 12-16 carries early in the season – especially with Morris and McFadden on the roster. However, as the season progresses, his carries per week should increase as well and be consistently in the 20s, giving him many chances to make an impact for your fantasy team.
Elliott carries tremendous upside and his draft range looks to be in the 12-18 range in standard/PPR leagues. He may even warrant a 1st round pick, but it may be too risky considering he’s never played a down in the league. As far as dynasty leagues go, Elliott is well-worth the 1st overall pick.
At this point, it’d be blasphemy to think any other rookie in the fantasy landscape outperforms Elliott. With talent, situation and workload all considered here, Zeke is in the perfect situation to succeed and make an immediate impact. I’m not one to project, but Elliott is more than likely to eclipse 1,000 yards on the year and score a handful of TDs.