Are we too low on Zeke?

No, I’m actually serious.

To explain why, let’s take a look at the 2022 Green Bay Packers first:

  • They lost their 2021 alpha target.
  • They didn’t bring on a new top WR.
  • They are expected to involve their backfield more in the passing game.
  • Aaron Jones has seen more targets than AJ Dillon in the past, so he’s expected to see even more in 2022, while Dillon is expecting to overtake him in carries.

Now let’s compare that to the 2022 Cowboys:

  • They lost their 2021 #2 and #5 targets, and the #4 target won’t be available for the start of the season.
  • They didn’t bring in a new top WR.
  • Zeke has seen more targets than Tony Pollard in the past.

See the similarities? What if a good portion of the targets Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and (for the start of the season) Michael Gallup leave unclaimed will go to the backfield?

I guess we all agree that Zeke is declining as a runner. But what if they set him up as a pass catcher out of the backfield? Pollard gets the majority of the ground work, but Zeke will get even more passes than he did in the past?

He may be declining as an RB, but he could still work as a WR out of the backfield.

We may be too low on Zeke, at least in PPR formats. If I reduce his ground volume share to 35%, but bump his target share up to 15%, he’d come out as RB#7 in my list.

And in this scenario, even Pollard could become a solid fantasy RB2.

Am I crazy?

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Even as a runner, I’ve been contemplating Zeke as a potential draft pick. He was able to play through his injury last season, which tells me it wasn’t that severe. Even though he is getting up in years (27), so I’m not drafting him in the first round, but he is still a solid mid-round pick. I would take him before Pollard.

Right now, Zeke is going with the 30th pick in ADP, so roughly a 3rd round pick. As an RB2, you could do worse.

On the other hand, Pollard is going with the 78th pick, so roughly a 7th round pick. I would rather wait until the 7th round and take a shot at Pollard, who could come close to splitting touches evenly with Zeke this year, possibly even overtaking him.

It’s not that Zeke is bad. More that Pollard is good, and younger, with a lot less wear on the tires.

Actually, they are high on WR Jalen Tolbert. Look out for him in your rookie drafts! He might move past Gallup.

P.S. I also like AJ Dillon more than Aaron Jones this year.

Not in PPR. Dillon will overtake Jones in rushing, but Jones will get a lot of targets.

Tolbert is definitely on my target list. But he cannot replace Cooper, Wilson and Gallup all by himself. Lamb will certainly benefit heavily, but some targets could go to the backfield. And that spells good news for Zeke.

I had him at RB#14 so far, in line with his ADP. But now I think that could be too low.

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I think there are good points on both sides here, but when I look at Zeke this year, I look at him as an ultra-high volume, low efficiency play. Better than someone like Montgomery, for example, but not as desirable as even Barkley, for instance. I look at Pollard as an injury handcuff to Zeke and, if the Cowboys were smart, a part-time receiver out of the slot or from 2-RB sets. He could have good standalone value if used advantageously. “If” being the operative word there…

The biggest factor here for me is this: Jerry Jones’ ego is going to feed Zeke as the bellcow in this offense until he either falls over or breaks in half. Health doesn’t matter. Efficiency doesn’t matter. Results don’t matter. Jerry overpaid badly for Zeke. Jerry will never, ever, ever, ever admit that mistake (or any other). And he’s determined to get his money’s worth.

Jerry’s ego is why the Cowboys always look great on paper and can’t win - or even get to - championships anymore. If you hate the Cowboys like I do, being from Philly, then you’re rooting for Jerry’s ego big time. But this year, unlike many others, Jerry’s ego is also a factor in fantasy. Just a thought…

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I don’t expect Tolbert to surpass Cooper, Wilson, and Gallup in his first season, but he could surpass Cooper. We’ll see about the other two.

It’s Dillon’s rushing that will lead him past Jones significantly.

It’s funny you should say that. I work with a guy who is a big Cowboys fan. I tease him the Eagles will win the division, although I do honestly think that.

I wouldn’t draft Elliott in first 2 rounds of a 10 or 12 team league. In one mock 10 team draft, I went RB,RB, RB with Elliott as my 3rd back. I still was able to have a good WR group and still got Dillon as my RB #4. I like the offense he is in but I don’t want to be reliant on him as one of my two main backs.

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Jerry’s ego was quoted yesterday saying that Ezekiel Elliott has to be the focus in the run game this season but, you know, there’s some room for Pollard out there too.

That’s all you need to know about the split in that backfield this year.

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But they won’t…the Eagles have to collapse mid-season, come back and sneak into a wild card in week 18, then wend their way however far into the playoffs via terrible matchups as a respect-free underdog.

It’s in the league by-laws. You can look it up…

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