Although most people go to Cabo to relax and/or party, Ezekiel Elliott went there to stay fit during his suspension. Fantasy owners are most concerned with the appearance of his Week 16 stat line, not the shirt-less Elliott photo we were all treated to by his reps Sunday night or his teammates' rave accounts of his condition upon returning to the club Monday.
Elliott played in 53 consecutive games dating back to Ohio State prior to serving his six-game personal conduct suspension, so there's little we can use on to help us decipher what type of rust coming off previous layoffs.
That leaves us to look at his pre-suspension body of work and the recent results of Seattle's 'D' to form a reasonable expectation of what Elliott will deliver in the biggest week of the Cowboys' — but more importantly fantasy owners' — season.
After somewhat of a sluggish sophomore start relative to his 2016 Rookie of the Year standards, Elliott averaged 23.9 fantasy points over the five games preceding his suspension to lead all backs. In the final three games — all Cowboys wins — Elliott's average shot up to 26.9, or five full points more than his closest pursuer (Todd Gurley).
That's impressive, unlike the recent play of Seattle's 'D.'
After averaging a top-6 ranking vs. the run in each of the past five seasons, none including a finish lower than 10th, the Seahawks rank 17th overall and tied for 12th in yards per attempt. Of course Todd Gurley's 180-total yard, 4-TD annihilation of that wounded unit a week ago won't help those numbers. But fellow feature back Leonard Fournette in Week 14 went 24-101-1, a box score similar to those of Carlos Hyde's and DeMarco Murray's vs. Seattle in September.
Like the Cowboys in welcoming back Elliott, Seattle should get a boost with K.J. Wright returning from his first absence in almost four years and Bobby Wagner (ankle) a bit healthier. But other offenses have had success vs. the Seahawks with the Cowboys' tried and true formula — ride their horse as far as he'll take them. With both desperate clubs in elimination games, having a fresh and fit Elliott ready to shoulder the load is quite an ace in the hole — in fantasy and reality.
1. Todd Gurley, Rams at Titans
2. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers at Texans
3. Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Falcons
4. Kareem Hunt, Chiefs vs. Dolphins
5. LeSean McCoy, Bills at Patriots
6. Mark Ingram, Saints vs. Falcons
7. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. Seahawks