The Duel

Tony Pollard Will be a Fantasy Football Steal if Ezekiel Elliott Holds Out

Jason Schandl
Birmingham Bowl - Memphis v Wake Forest
Birmingham Bowl - Memphis v Wake Forest / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It looks like Le'Veon Bell has started a trend. We're almost a month into discussion swirling about whether Melvin Gordon will suit up for the Chargers on the final year of his contract, and this morning news broke that Ezekiel Elliott, too, plans to sit out if he and the Dallas Cowboys can't come to terms on an extension.

A top-12 running back in fantasy scoring in all three of his NFL seasons so far, Elliott has predictably been one of the first players off the board in fantasy football drafts so far this season, with an average draft position (ADP) in the top-five. He's going as the third player off the board on average.

Last year we saw just how valuable a backup can be when their starter holds out, with James Conner finishing sixth among running backs in fantasy scoring, so it's worth taking a close look at the Cowboys' backups.

Outside of Elliott, there are four backs on the Cowboys' payroll. One was an undrafted rookie this year, one was a seventh-round pick, one has only six NFL carries since entering the league in 2016, and the other is 2018 fourth-round pick Tony Pollard -- the one to own in fantasy football.

Pollard didn't see a ton of work on the ground behind Darrell Henderson at Memphis, but he was highly efficient and also contributed big numbers through the air.

Per PlayerProfiler, Pollard ranked in the 93rd percentile of running back prospects in college yards per carry, as well as in the 94th percentile in market share of his team's targets. That versatility is crucial in keeping him on the field for all three downs and for filling the massive shoes of Elliott, who had 95 targets to go with his league-leading 304 rush attempts in 2017.

Pollard is, of course, still a highly-speculative pick.

The team wants to get a deal done, and considering their willingness to invest the fourth-overall pick in Elliott just three years ago, chances are still good they work out an extension.

Pollard is completely free in fantasy football right now though, and while he wouldn't be in line to straight up replace Elliott's 399 opportunities from 2018, his upside would be very high as the team's lead back if Zeke does hold out.

There's also no risk in having Pollard on your roster at this point -- since he's available at the end of drafts you can easily replace him with another speculative pick-up once Elliott does re-sign.

Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.