Would You Rather: Draft Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley for 2021 Fantasy Football

Larry Rupp
Would You Rather: draft Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley in 2021 fantasy football leagues.
Would You Rather: draft Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley in 2021 fantasy football leagues. / Elsa/Getty Images

Fantasy football is controlled by running backs that can make an impact in both the passing and rushing attack. Two NFC East ball-carriers fit that role to a tee in Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. Both players are being drafted within the first round and the difference between them is minuscule.

Choosing between Elliott and Barkley while on the clock is a tough decision, so let's break it down.

Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy Outlook

It seemed like every Dallas Cowboys player had a down year in 2020 and that includes Ezekiel Elliott. The 26-year-old posted a career-low 979 rushing yards (4.0 average) and scored just 8 touchdowns. The return of starting quarterback Dak Prescott should give Elliott a huge boost, though.

Elliott averaged 108.0 yards from scrimmage and totaled 4 touchdowns in his four games played with Prescott in 2020. After the Dallas quarterback went down, defenses focused on shutting down the Cowboys' rushing attack. This was due to the inconsistencies that backup Andy Dalton brought to the table.

Moving forward, Elliott is still the workhorse on this offense. He should be in line to see 20-plus touches a game and could explode into the top-3 finishers at the position in the best case scenario. The consistency he has shown towers over Barkley's inability to stay on the field.

Saquon Barkley Fantasy Outlook

Saquon Barkley is one of the most mysterious players heading into the fall given he is returning from a devastating ACL injury. No one quite knows if he will be eased back into action or not. The 24-year-old has proven to be a menace on the field when healthy, though.

In fact, Barkley finished as the No. 1 RB in PPR leagues the last time he played an entire regular season (2018). He averages 114.9 yards from scrimmage per game throughout his three-year career and has scored 23 touchdowns in 31 games played. It's clear that he is the go-to option in the New York Giants' offense.

The uncertainty that comes with drafting Barkley seems to be scaring fantasy managers away. Add in the fact that the Giants only scored 17.5 points per game last season (No. 30 in NFL) and the outlook doesn't get any brighter.

Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley

Fantasy managers have to go with Ezekiel Elliott at this spot. Health plays a vital role in fantasy football and Elliott has missed just two games over the last three seasons. His ceiling is just as high as Barkley's is and comes with much less risk involved.

Elliott checks in at RB3 in The Duel's 2021 fantasy football rankings, while Barkely finds himself at just within the top-10 at RB9.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. 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.