Dallas Cowboys rookie all-star running back Ezekiel Elliott is a major reason why fantasy owners are in contention to win their fantasy football league in 2016. However, one now needs to question just how long will he be in the Cowboys lineup for.
Elliott is being investigated for a domestic abuse incident in Columbus, Ohio this past July. He has a strong connection to Columbus because he played his college football for Ohio State. Elliott did not face charges, however the National Football League continues to investigate the matter.
If the NFL decides that there was enough evidence that an assault took place, they could suspend Elliott for six games. The suspension would not only be a major blow for the Cowboys, who have a NFL-best record of 9-1, but for fantasy owners who dream of a fantasy football championship. Elliott has 1102 rushing yards, which leads the NFL. He has 102 more yards than DeMarco Murray of the Tennessee Titans.
In Philadelphia, the Eagles could give Wendell Smallwood the bulk of the carries on Monday against the Green Bay Packers. Smallwood finds himself in a lucrative fantasy position because the other two Eagles running backs are doubtful because of injury. Ryan Mathews has a MCL sprain and Darren Sproles has a broken rib. After a relatively strong season, the Packers defensive line had a very poor game against the Washington Redskins last week as they gave up 137 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns to running back Rob Kelley.
There are however two reasons to be cautious before inserting Smallwood into your starting lineup. The first is because the Eagles play last on the weekend (Monday night), and you may not know an approximate number of carries that Smallwood would get until right before game time. The second reason is there is a possibility Smallwood could find himself in a time share situation with the Eagles’ fourth string running back Kenjon Barber, which would also decrease his fantasy value.
There are three big games this weekend with two on American Thanksgiving. On Thursday, Minnesota plays Detroit and Dallas plays Washington. In Detroit, first place is on the line in the NFC North. The Vikings have the slight edge here because they enter the game with more momentum. The Vikings beat a tough Arizona Cardinals squad 30-24 last week, while the Lions looked more vulnerable in beating Jacksonville 26-19. In Dallas, the Cowboys simply look great at both ends of the football and should beat Washington in a tight matchup. Finally on Sunday night, first place is on the line as the Kansas City Chiefs play in Denver. This game could have a combined total of less than 30 points, with the slight edge going to Kansas City.
Also consider upsets by Cincinnati and Arizona this week. The Bengals play Baltimore and the Cardinals play the Falcons. My projected three stars of the week are Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins.