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Factoid

Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott looking like Cowboys' goal-line runner

I’m not a big Ezekiel Elliott fan. He’s been in the league for eight years, and his average rushing yards per game has declined in every season. He’s won a couple of rushing titles, but he’s just a nominal contributor now.

He’s just been worn down by a combination of age and the wear and tear of playing a physically demanding position. Go to YouTube and watch the highlights of Elliott running for 246 yards and 4 TDs in the college football national title game against Oregon in January, 2015; he’s a different guy.

But this said, I will concede that Elliott has some value as a knowledgeable veteran. He’ll be good in pass protection, and he’s still a capable short-yardage and goal-line runner. The numbers, in fact, suggest Elliott might still be one of the top half dozen short-yardage runners in the league.

Over the last two years, Elliott has carried the ball 24 times when his teams (Cowboys in 2022, Patriots last year) have been looking to gain 1 yard – either to score, or to keep a drive alive on third or fourth down. Elliott has successfully converted all but one of those carries. He’s been better than anybody on those plays recently, including Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen.

Below see the numbers for the 28 running backs with at least 20 such carries in the last two seasons. (To make the chart more manageable, I’m leaving out the quarterbacks, but Elliott has been better than all of them.)

If we’re drafting in a TD-only league, Elliott might have one more starter-caliber season left in him.

AND-ONE' RUSHING (last 2 years)
RkPlayer"Good"AttPct
1.Ezekiel Elliott232495.8%
2.James Conner232785.2%
3.Derrick Henry263281.3%
4.Gus Edwards202580.0%
5.Rhamondre Stevenson162080.0%
6.Tony Pollard212777.8%
7.Devin Singletary162176.2%
8.David Montgomery182475.0%
9.Kareem Hunt162272.7%
10.Brian Robinson233271.9%
11.Christian McCaffrey283971.8%
12.Jamaal Williams273871.1%
13.Tyler Allgeier172470.8%
14.Isiah Pacheco162369.6%
15.Chuba Hubbard182669.2%
16.Rachaad White223268.8%
17.Dameon Pierce152268.2%
18.Saquon Barkley142166.7%
19.Zack Moss142166.7%
20.Kenneth Walker182864.3%
21.Josh Jacobs193063.3%
22.Latavius Murray132161.9%
23.Austin Ekeler223661.1%
24.AJ Dillon162759.3%
25.Jonathan Taylor172958.6%
26.Joe Mixon213658.3%
27.Travis Etienne203557.1%
28.Leonard Fournette122157.1%

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index