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The Dynasty Fantasy Football Impact of Ezekiel Elliott signing with New England

Zeke and destroy? We break down the impact of Ezekiel Elliott signing with New England

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted former Ohio State Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick in 2016, much was expected of him. Over the last seven years, he mostly delivered for “Big D” as he established himself as one of the most dominant forces at the position, becoming the focal point for the Dallas offense along the way. Unfortunately, Father Time remains undefeated and Elliott was starting to look like his age and workload were starting to really catch up to him last season. After being released by the Cowboys this off-season, Elliott took his time to find a new team but landed on his feet today as he signed a one-year deal with New England that could pay him “up to” $6 million. The signing is significant in dynasty circles, so let’s take a look at the players whose values have changed as a result.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB NE

Over his seven years in the league, Elliott has posted 8,262 rushing yards, 305 catches, 2,336 receiving yards, and scored a massive 80 rushing touchdowns alone. He’s also recorded four different 1,000 yard seasons and four campaigns with at least ten rushing touchdowns, including last year when he scored 12 times. Despite the touchdown production, however, he has looked different (and slower) over the past few seasons and his yards per carry hit a career low 3.8 last year as Tony Pollard simply looked like the better player in Dallas.

Elliott will get a new lease on life with the Patriots but it’s clear his best days are behind him. In short, this looks like a signing that’s better in reality than fantasy as he should provide a solid early down and potential goal-line presence for New England but do little more than muddy the backfield for dynasty managers. This is a one-year “prove it” kind of deal for Elliott and he’s certainly going to give it his best effort. However, it’s hard to see him having a huge impact playing for a team notorious for frustrating fantasy league managers with the way they employ their running backs. His ADP will rise but it’s hard to see him being much more than a flex player or bye-week flier without significant injuries on the roster.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB NE

The biggest impact in regards to this signing is with Stevenson, who was in line to be a fringe RB1 in fantasy leagues this year. He was stellar last year with 1,040 rushing yards (on a robust 5.0 yards per carry) and 69 catches. The only thing holding him back was touchdown production as he only found the end zone six times all last season. Many expected that to naturally change as he seemed destined to have more than the 210 carries he posted last year and be the clear lead back for the Pats. While he’s still going to undoubtedly be the starter for New England this year, the presence of Elliott really does cloud his short-term future. At the very least, Elliott has a nose for the end zone and if he gets those high money carries, Stevenson’s fantasy points per game average is going to suffer greatly.

In the end, Stevenson remains a solid long-term hold (and possibly even a target to get this year for a building team) but his ranking of RB13 and overall ADP is going to take a bit of a dip with this news. While far from catastrophic, the certainty dynasty managers had of him being a “plug and play” option every week is no in doubt, at least for now. On the plus side, we can all sleep well tonight knowing Bill Belichick still hates fantasy football. In an uncertain world, there’s comfort in that.

Ty MontgomeryPierre Strong, JJ Taylor and Kevin Harris, RBs NE

New England is known as the place where running backs go to die as they’re notorious for unpredictable carries and rarely even ride the hot hand. The addition of Elliott is going to throw cold water on this entire group as it’s going to be very hard to see any of them providing any kind of consistent value. Strong still seems like the safest bet of the group but that’s far from certain.

Tony Pollard, RB DAL

Many expected Dallas to eventually bring back Elliott on a more team-friendly contract. With Zeke now in New England, Pollard clearly has the runway to become on of the best assets in all of dynasty leagues. We’ve already seen the talent and now it seems we’re going to see just what he can do with an amazing opportunity. His ADP keeps climbing and he clearly looks like an elite-level RB1 going into the year. Let’s have some fun!


Malik Davis, Ronald Jones and Deuce Vaughn, RBs DAL

While this signing solidifies Pollard’s opportunity, it also opens up a chance for one of these players to step up and post some meaningful performances this season. If Pollard was to get hurt or miss any kind of time, it’s possible there could be a legitimate league winner in this group. With Jones being suspended, Davis looks like the most likely candidate for a bump up. However, don’t sleep on Vaughn, who dynasty owners are tracking very closely after he’s made a solid impression through the first part of training camp and week one of the preseason. None of these players (even Jones) should be on the waiver wire in deep leagues.


Ken Kelly
The Dynasty Fantasy Football Impact of Ezekiel Elliott signing with New England
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Matt Ramsey
1 month ago

Don’t forget about Rico Dowdell in Dallas. He could very well be RB2.

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