Ezekiel Elliott lost his request for a preliminary injunction against his six-game suspension Monday. It appears he will not play for the Dallas Cowboys again until mid-December. The judge gave both sides 24 hours to research appeal possibilities, but Elliott and the NFLPA allowed one appeal process to expire last week and appear resigned to serving the suspension.
This is not only disastrous for the Cowboys, but for Elliott’s NFL fantasy owners. The delays caused by the court hearings to date now push Elliott’s return past the opening round of playoffs in most leagues.
Who gets the ball?
If you did not grab Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris, check if you are in one of the 15% of leagues where one or the other is still available. Grab either, because we really don’t know who the starter will be or how Dallas plans on distributing Elliott’s touches. Morris has been the backup all season with McFadden inactive. There are theories, however, that Dallas has been holding McFadden for just this scenario. Besides, the starter may not matter if the Cowboys consider them 1 and 1A.
Can’t get them? Look for Alex Collins, Orleans Darkwa
If McFadden and Morris are on other rosters already, see if Alex Collins is available. He could prove to be a better choice when all is said and done. Collins should see 15-20 touches per week and at 6.0 yards per shot, all he needs is an occasional touchdown to be an NFL fantasy leader.
After that, there are not a lot of options. I think the Giants will run the ball more effectively in the second half, giving Orleans Darkwa potential fantasy value. Marlon Mack is seeing more touches and could have good weeks ahead of him, too.
What if I already have McFadden or Morris?
Dallas’ offensive line isn’t as good as it was in 2016. Losing Elliott will make life a little harder for Dak Prescott, but it also might result in more passing plays and lead to an uptick in the value of Prescott, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten.
But you should consider that Morris and McFadden might never be worth more than they are right now. If you don’t need them, consider trading them to Elliott’s owner or anybody else for top value. If you have been winning games with two other backs, see what you can get for Elliott’s replacement. If you are losing with Elliott, you will not win with McFadden. See if you can swing a deal to get your team back in the race.
What if I have Elliott?
If you think you can make it through the first round of the playoffs without him, hold onto Elliott. An angry Zeke would be quite a boost for the final game. If not, send emails now to any 6-2 or 7-1 team and offer him up for whatever you can get. It won’t do any good to finish fifth with Elliott taking up a valuable roster spot.
No chance for appeal?
The way this case has gone, and realizing I am not a legal expert, there may be a way for the NFLPA and Ezekiel Elliott to force his way back before the six games are over. If you believe that is possible, hold onto him. Elliott says he is fighting for his name after being cleared of all charges by police, only to find himself deemed guilty of violating NFL player standards. The judge’s decision only regards the process used for the NFL to reach that conclusion. It does not say Elliott is guilty.
Any further appeal is probably a long-shot, especially since further delays could push any suspension into real-life playoff weeks. As stated earlier, the NFLPA had another appeal route they needed to file an extension for last week, but they let it expire. They can ask to rekindle that process, but the odds of winning that are very low. Tom Brady’s Deflategate case was denied in the same process.
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