After CMC, Dalvin Cook & King Henry go with the top 3 picks the remainder of round 1 is wide open. Do you take Saquon Barkley who's coming off a season ending knee injury? The week 16 super hero Alvin Kamara? Or maybe the highly touted sophomore Jonathan Taylor?
Someone who is getting overlooked after a disappointing 2020 (by his standards) is Ezekiel Elliott. Should you be nervous about drafting Zeke in 2021? Absolutely not.
Anyone who used a top 3 pick on Zeke last year was likely kicking themselves, especially after seeing what Henry, Cook, and Kamara accomplished. Zeke was going as high as 2nd pick last season, for 2021 his ADP on Sleeper is at 9.0, a pretty significant drop for one of the league's top backs.
So why is Zeke sliding this year? His 14.9 PPG (minimum 8 games played) last season ranking him 13th overall isn't as appealing to fantasy managers as some of the other top running backs. Not to mention his 12.9 PPG through playoffs last year ranked 26th, including 2.8 PPG behind teammate Tony Pollard.
Now it's time to dig into the reason why you shouldn't be scared to draft Zeke in the first round. Everyone is aware of Dallas’ struggles to stay healthy last season, including the one everyone is aware of, QB Dak Prescott. When Prescott lined up under center Zeke was the #4 RB averaging 22.3 PPG, When Dak was out just a measly 10.8, that's 32nd, not somebody you want as your RB1 down the stretch.
I don't want to blame Zeke’s struggles on his teammates' health, but when you lose your Pro Bowl QB, LT, and your stats significantly plummet it's obviously more than just him. Now, entering 2021, Prescott is healthy and has a new contract, the offensive line is intact, and Dallas has one of the highest powered offenses in the NFL.
Stat history, and future projections, are one thing in Fantasy Football, but another is Strength of Schedule (SOS). Dallas has the 2nd easiest schedule entering 2021 based on last year's records, including games against New York, Arizona, and Philadelphia late in the year. A weak schedule means more points, and more points means your ground game is going to get more opportunity. Volume & production are fantasy gold, and we all know what Zeke is capable of.
In the end, ignore Zeke’s 2020 stats, and the mess that was the Cowboys offense, and be excited you can get him at the end of the 1st round. A lot of people are going to cross him off their boards because they don't want to take a ‘risk’ in round 1, don't make that mistake, it could be a difference maker.