“I’ve been riding Ezekiel Elliot’s coattails, what do I do now?”
Author: Zach Whigham (Sleeperbot @ArtyBandit )
Zach is a Georgia native, poker enthusiast, and Marine Corps veteran. He is currently a full time college student and Political Science major at the University of North Georgia, as well as an avid fantasy football player since 2012.
I’m not a fan of Ezekiel Elliot. I’m in seven different fantasy leagues, and I didn’t draft him in any of them, even after I was given the chance to draft him in the third round in two different drafts.
I’m writing this article out of spite. Spite because I lost a match-up this past week against an opponent who had Elliot. I lost the match-up by 2 points, and I’m livid; however, I now realize what a key component Zeke was to certain lineups. With the news of his suspension finally being upheld, Dr. Whig is here to help you guys out, and I’m going to give you guys some names of players to target through trades, or on the waiver wire.
ESPN will be the platform used for ownership percentages
Alex Collins — Baltimore RB- 32% Ownership
Alex Collins is a name that has been mentioned in waiver wire pickup columns the past few weeks, but hasn’t garnered a lot of love. He is on an offense that hasn’t proved to be volatile until this past Thursday against what was though to be a relatively strong Dolphins defense. Luckily, he is on a team that has yet to develop a passing game, what with Joe Flacco forgetting “how to quarterback” and their lead receiver being Jeremy Maclin, who is notorious for posting stats that look like “5 for 37”, (this past Thursday being an outlier).
Since Week 5, Collins’s carry count has gone from 9 to the following: 12, 15, 10, and 18…with last weeks attempts resulting in 113 RuYds, accompanied by 2 receptions for 30 yards. After Thursday’s performance, the team has said they are looking to get Collins more touches, and that bodes well for the second year player. An upcoming schedule of Tennessee and Green Bay, as well as Cleveland and Indianapolis during the fantasy playoffs, only scream upside.
Orleans Darkwa- NY Giants RB- 39% Ownership
I know it sounds gross, touching any players from the Giants’ backfield, but Darkwa has upside. Through all of last year, and the first few weeks of the current season, the Giants couldn’t get anything going on the ground with Paul Perkins. As of late though (referring to the Giants’ routing of Denver in week 6) offensive play calling has been handed off from head coach Ben McAdoo, to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Sullivan apparently used his new found powers to change up the RB depth chart, and has since found a new weapon in the offense.
Taking pressure off of Eli Manning is always a good thing, and Orleans Darkwa has started to fill that role in New York. Since week 5, his rushing attempts have been 8, 21, and 9…and while those numbers seem underwhelming, its the fact that Darkwa has assumed the lead back role that is enticing. That, and the fact he has two favorable match ups coming off of a bye week (LA Rams, and SF 49'ers…both susceptible to the run). If Darkwa doesn’t seem like a long term fill in for you, he is at the least a gap filler until you can find a trade.
Alvin Kamara- New Orleans Saints RB- 93% Ownership
Odds are that in your leagues, this guy has become a mandatory flex role starter, while in some he has filled the slot that David Johnson once filled for those owners that are in a pinch. But since he is playing second fiddle to Mark Ingram, he can be acquired for a price.
Kamara is in an offense that is pass heavy, with a QB that will no doubt end up in the Hall of Fame. Since the week 5 bye, and Adrian Peterson’s departure, his touches have seen a bump (10, 9, and 8) while at the same time managing to play an active role in the receiving game, (3 for 12, 5 for 50, and 3 for 48). In my leagues, Kamara hasn’t had a week under 12 points since week 3, and that is just fine when it comes to finding a starting RB.
He won’t come cheap, but in a fantasy landscape where RB’s are king, is there really a price on a consistent RB?
Marlon Mack- Indianapolis Colts RB- 29% Ownership
On an offense where everything is failing because of Andrew Luck being a ghost, and the star RB (Frank Gore) being two steps from the nursing home…Marlon Mack shows a lot of potential.
While his past 4 weeks of carries do not seem favorable (9, 2, 5, 11) and receptions (1, 0, 4, 3), its where he is getting the attempts that’s good for fantasy owners. A lot of totes in the red zone.
With Luck probably not coming back this year, the ineptitude of the passing game, and a feature back that is bound to get hurt and/or see less touches going forward, Mack is a must own for those trying to fill a gap left void by Zeke.
My two cents? Maybe Zeke should’ve just taken the suspension at the beginning of the year, instead of dragging it out into the middle of the season when his team is trying to make a playoff run