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JUST ASK JOE!

Need Someone to Weigh In on Your Next Fantasy Football Move? JUST ASK JOE!

*Note: If you have already read the introduction blurb (in a previous installment of JUST ASK JOE), please skip directly to the Q & A below.

How many times have you been pondering a move in one of your fantasy football leagues and just wanted to run it by someone? How many times have you asked some supposed fantasy football guru on Twitter or Facebook a simple question, only to have them provide a minimal response with no explanation?

In many cases, it seems that they are just trying to lure you into some paid scheme before they give you the time of day. Well, my first bit of advice for you is that there is no need to ever pay for someone’s fantasy football opinion.

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The Internet is loaded with free information, as well as knowledgeable and passionate people that are all too happy to share their two cents with you. And I am one of them!

While I do not profess to have all the answers, I do guarantee that any opinion I share with you will be honest, objective, well-researched, and based on more than two decades of fantasy football experience.

So, if you have any fantasy football questions, please feel free to JUST ASK JOE! That means hitting me up on Twitter and firing away. Of course, I would try to help you out with any aspect of fantasy football, but my real expertise lies in redraft and dynasty formats.

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In trying to build a championship team, every little bit helps!

I will be happy to try to answer as many questions as I can directly. And in this column, I will post and publish a few of the ones that I think would be of interest to a larger audience. Depending on the volume of questions I get, I will try to publish this column once or twice a month during the offseason and, hopefully, more frequently as the season approaches.

Below, I have shared a question from a fantasy football manager I crossed paths with on Sleeper. Note: To make questions easier to read, in some cases, I may make slight modifications to the structure and wording of the questions.

Fantasy Football Question and Answer (August 7, 2022)

League/Team Details: General question for 12-team dynasty PPR leagues

Question: What is Ezekiel Elliot’s value in dynasty fantasy football?

Start or Sit These Players on Thursday Night to Win Week 13 Fantasy
Is Ezekiel Elliot still an elite RB?

Answer:

I have seen this topic create quite a stir in dynasty fantasy circles. Cowboy fans and Ezekiel Elliot owners in fantasy will argue vehemently that he is still an elite back. They will insist that he was injured last year, and that is why his production tailed off.

Other Elliot apologists will simply blame the offensive line, who dealt with their own share of injuries down the stretch last year. While there may be some credence to their claims, it is impossible to deny a few facts.

First, Ezekiel Elliot averaged a pedestrian 4.1 ypc the last two years and appears to be slowing down. The league average during this time period was 4.3 ypc. Tony Pollard, who had 130 carries last season, averaged 5.5 ypc running behind the same line that Elliot did.

Five Players I’m trading my 2022 rookie draft picks for
Tony Pollard has been the most explosive runner in Big D the last few years.

While Ezekiel Elliot remains a great blocking back and a reliable short-yardage runner, he seems to have lost some of the burst that once made him special. RBs in the NFL, traditionally, do not age well.

Embarking on his seventh season, Ezekiel Elliot has shown signs of decline. And the effects of carrying the rock over 1600 times may be starting to catch up to him.

So, how should fantasy owners evaluate Elliot’s current dynasty value? Well, they should start by removing emotion from their evaluations. I am a diehard Cowboys fan and have loved what Zeke has done for my team over the years. However, the writing is clearly on the wall in my opinion.

2022 will likely be Elliot’s last season to have a significant impact in fantasy football. I say this for a few reasons. First, after this season, the Cowboys can finally free themselves from Elliot’s albatross of a contract.

In today’s NFL, it simply doesn’t make fiscal sense to pay such an exorbitant salary for an aging and declining RB. Big money second contracts did not work out well for teams that paid stars such as David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, and Le’Veon Bell.

And one wonders if Carolina and Tennessee would like do-overs in signing Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry to lucrative second contracts. Both have shown signs of wear and tear recently.

RotoHeat 2020 Redraft Cheat Sheet
Since he signed a lucrative second contract, RB Christian McCaffrey has only played in ten games over the past two seasons due to multiple injuries.

Having said that, however, as long as he stays healthy, I fully expect Elliot to match or surpass what he did last year when he was the seventh-ranked runner in fantasy. He will surely get a ton of carries in 2022. And in the quasi-final year of his contract, I expect him to be extremely motivated.

Even so, the RB position has been devalued over the years. And the Cowboys will surely have younger and cheaper (and possibly more productive) options next year. Thus, unless Zeke agrees to a massive pay cut moving forward, 2022 will be his last season with the Cowboys. And it is likely that wherever he lands (upon turning 28 next summer), he will be involved in some sort of committee.

So, to get back to the original question, what is Elliot worth to fantasy owners in dynasty leagues? Well, it all depends on the structure of your team and whether you will contend in 2022 or not. Of course, if you are selling Zeke, you should shoot for the stars.

All you would need is for him to string together a few good weeks early in the season. At that point, you should look for a contender (or a diehard Cowboys fan with diluted perspective) who feels they are just a RB away from winning it all. In this dream scenario, if you are lucky, you may be able to get a mid to late first-round pick for him.

bijan Just Ask Joe
The 2023 NFL rookie draft figures to be loaded at RB, with studs such as Bijan Robinson #5 of the Texas Longhorns leading the way.

However, it is probably more realistic that you get a second-round pick for him. And, if you are in a rebuild, I would have no qualms about letting Zeke go for a second-round pick.

One person asked me if I would consider two third-round picks for Elliot if I were rebuilding. They were quite shocked when I said I would think about it. While I agree that a package of two third-round picks is not optimum value, it really depends on how things are going with him and what his market is in your league.

And, for the record, I am not sure how many people out there value third-round picks as much as those of us in the diehard fantasy community. I do not see them as throw-away picks as many people seem to.

As I wrote in an earlier article, the worst thing you could do is hang on to a depreciating asset in fantasy. At some point, you need to cash out. If you are in a rebuild, that time is now. Zeke may have one more big year left in 2022.

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The next few months could be the last time Ezekiel Elliot has significant value in fantasy football.

However, in a rebuild, you actually do not want those points on your roster, especially if you have a Maximum Points For (MPF) ant-tanking rule in place to determine draft order. This simply means that the draft order of non-playoff teams is determined based on the maximum possible points a team could have had (regardless of whether players were starting or not). Thus, the team with the fewest MPFs would get the first pick and so on. 

You are not contending this year anyways and, thus, would only be hurting your draft position next year. This is not to say you should ever tank for draft picks. To the contrary, in a rebuild, you should be planning for the future. And having productive veterans on their last legs does little to help you in the long run.

So, my advice is to get whatever you can for these players. And regarding the topic of tanking (or not tanking I should say), I have seen this topic come up in a few of my leagues and plan to devote a future article to this at some point. In the meantime, make sure to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook with more inquiries and/or to tell me how wrong you think I was. Either way, I can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for reading the sixth installment of JUST ASK JOE! I really enjoyed tackling such a thought-provoking question, and hope I was able to shed a little light. For more analyses, be sure to check out our website and fantasy player rankings.

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