Flavor Of The Week: Examining ways to replace Ezekiel Elliott, again

By DJ Eberle - [email protected] | November 11th, 2017 8:47 pm

Well, it’s back again.

That pesky Ezekiel Elliott dilemma. You know, the one we discussed in Week 7.

After the Dallas Cowboys running back’s appeal was denied on Thursday, Elliott is set to miss the next six games. Four if he’s lucky.

Yeah, Elliott has another hearing on Dec. 1 that could change things. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Expect to Zeke to be out until Week 16 — the fantasy football playoffs. Hopefully you’re still playing at that point.

With Zeke likely suspended the rest of the fantasy regular season, you’ve probably missed your chance to trade him. But who knows, maybe you’ll find a sucker like me in your league. I traded Jay Ajayi for Elliott last weekend.

In my defense, there’s no flex in that league and my running backs are Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara and Dion Lewis. So I’m pretty set even with Elliott suspended.

So now what? The best thing you can do is scrounge the waiver wire. Believe it or not, you might find some hidden gems.

First thing’s first. Let’s look at the Dallas backfield: Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith.

Word out of Dallas is all three backs will get work.

While McFadden has been a healthy scratch all season, there’s a reason the Cowboys have kept him around. For times like these. However, it seemed as if Morris was going to be first in line last week when it looked like Elliott would be out. Smith is a dark horse.

I prefer Morris, McFadden and Smith — in that order.

However, the real value is in a couple of different backfields all together.

My No. 1 choice is Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, followed by New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa, New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis and Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack. All four have potential, but Drake’s and Darkwa’s could pay dividends sooner rather than later.

QUARTERBACK

Must have: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

I know Big Ben’s home-road splits are pretty bad, but this is game is in Indianapolis and against the 23rd-ranked defense against quarterbacks. Plus, it’s in a dome. How bad could it be?

Pass: Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

Not only has Rivers been struggling, but this Sacksonville defense is for real. They rank first against quarterbacks. Not to mention, the Jaguars get after the quarterback extremely well and Rivers doesn’t do well under pressure. Yikes.

Worth a shot: Eli Manning, New York Giants

While it seems like the Giants are self-destructing, Manning has been pretty good of late. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in four of his last six games and San Francisco is 30th against quarterbacks. Big day for Eli here.

RUNNING BACK

Must have: Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants

Like his quarterback, Darkwa has a favorable matchup against the 49ers. San Francisco ranks dead last against running backs this season. A borderline top-20 running back.

Pass: Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

The Cleveland Browns are pretty bad, but they do, do one thing well — defend the run. Abdullah well get his touches, but I don’t expect him to go anywhere.

Worth a shot: Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

The Lions have allowed 49.1 receiving yards and six receptions per game to running backs this season, according to ESPN. That fits the mold of Johnson to a T. Expect the Cleveland offense to go through the man named Duke.

WIDE RECEIVER

Must have: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m all in on the Giants. Shepard is in for a big, big day.

Pass: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

Look, you don’t need to start Jordy if you don’t have to. This Chicago defense is underrated and the Packers’ offense is too dink-and-dunk to have a high fantasy upside.

Worth a shot: Robby Anderson, New York Jets

Anderson has had double-digit scoring efforts in four straight games. That streak will continue against a bad Tampa Bay defense.

TIGHT END

Must have: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

I don’t feel great about it, but you can score on this Jaguars defense with the tight end.

Pass: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets

The Bucs are actually pretty good against the tight end and Josh McCown has been favoring his wide receivers more as of late.

Worth a shot: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

Even though the New Orleans Saints are good against tight ends and Tyrod Taylor has Kelvin Benjamin to throw to now, Clay was Taylor’s security blanket before getting hurt in early October. He’s expected to play this weekend. He’s a TE1.

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake is DJ Eberle’s top free-agent find to replace suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_Kenyan-Drake.jpgMiami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake is DJ Eberle’s top free-agent find to replace suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Lynne Sladky | AP file photo

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398, [email protected] or on Twitter @ByDJEberle


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