Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott tallied a mediocre 61 total yards on 17 touches in Saturday's win over the Eagles: 16-55 rushing, 1-6 receiving on 1 target. He scored the team's lone rushing TD, marking his 8th straight game with at least 1 score. Elliott has also carried 15+ times in every appearance since Week 7. He gets 1 of the league's worst RB-scoring matchups in the Titans in Week 17, however. That will challenge his usability in fantasy football lineups. RB Tony Pollard managed just 19 yards on 9 carries against the Eagles, adding 6 catches for 61 yards on 8 targets. Each of those receiving numbers ranked 2nd on the team. That aspect will make Pollard better suited for the Tennessee matchup.
Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott (thigh) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game vs. the Chargers. We've heard nothing to suggest that Zeke is in danger of missing this one. But the thigh injury is just more reason to believe that RB Rhamondre Stevenson will control backfield work again this weekend.
The Patriots made Ian Rapoport's Sunday Ezekiel Elliott report look like a lie. The NFL Network reporter said New England planned to give Elliott "starter reps" against his old team. That amounted to 6 carries and 3 targets in the 38-3 loss. Elliott totaled just 22 yards and watched Rhamondre Stevenson beat him 16-8 in touches. We'll see what gets reported about the Patriots backfield heading into Week 5, but Elliott's 3.9 yards per touch so far this season certainly don't scream that he needs to get the ball more. Stevenson managed only 40 total yards against the Cowboys. The New England backfield gets a tough matchup with New Orleans in Week 5 before a better spot at Las Vegas in Week 6.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott will get "starter reps" in today's game against the Cowboys. Regardless of whether he technically starts, that means increased work against his old team. Elliott carried 16 times in last week's win over the Jets but still trailed Rhamondre Stevenson (19) in a run-heavy game plan. Don't be surprised if we get another rushing lean against Dallas, which arrives ranked 20th in run-defense DVOA and third-best against the pass. We've moved Elliott up the Week 4 rankings, where he could be a low RB2 or flex option this week. We'll see what this means for Stevenson's role, but we're not knocking New England's top back out of fantasy-starter range.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Mike Reiss tweeted that Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott saw "a notable uptick in work" in practice behind starter Rhamondre Stevenson. Reiss specified that Elliott received increased usage as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Granted, this is only one report. We don't want to overreact or make any big takeaways here. The former All-Pro saw a career-low 23 targets with the Cowboys last season and likely won't be too much of a threat to Stevenson in that department. That said, we'll keep an eye on future reports should Elliott continue being utilized as a pass-catcher in practice as it could cut into the point scoring ceiling of Stevenson. He fell a smidge in our PPR RB rankings following Zeke's signing, but we still feel confident Stevenson will be the clear RB1 in this offense. Check back for further updates as we get more information.
The Patriots are unsurprisingly happy so far to have RB Ezekiel Elliott on board. (Otherwise, why would they have signed him?) Coaches have praised his football intelligence and communication with new teammates. The most noteworthy comment, though, seems like OC Bill O'Brien telling ESPN's Mike Reiss, "I do think he's a three-down back." Elliott's receiving fell way off last year, from 2.8 receptions per game in 2021 to just 1.1 in 2022. He also saw the second-fewest pass-blocking reps of his career, according to Pro Football Focus, trailing only a 2017 season in which Elliott was suspended for six games. This might be a throwaway comment from O'Brien. We'd be shocked if New England actually treated Elliott like a challenger to Rhamondre Stevenson's pass-game snaps. But we'll also keep watching for specifics on the new old guy's role. There remains plenty of separation between Stevenson and Elliott in our 2023 PPR rankings.
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