Rhamondre Stevenson was helped off the field against the Chargers with a right ankle injury, thus paving the way for Ezekiel Elliott to see his role expand in a significant way. Stevenson had just started to find his rhythm of late with a pair of top-10 finishes in his three games prior and five finishes as a fantasy starter in his previous six games, leading fantasy football managers to wonder if ‘Zeke can assume that viable role moving forward.
Should Ezekiel Elliott Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 14?
Through 12 weeks, Elliott (over 2,300 career touches) didn’t have one of his 115 touches gain even 20 yards. That serves as proof that counting on any sort of explosion isn’t wise, thus putting Elliott in a position to be a touchdown-dependent option for fantasy managers.
That sort of profile holds value in many offenses, but the Patriots entered Week 13 ranked 31st in both scoring offense (13.5 PPG) and red zone trips per game (2.2). Elliott’s three seasons with double-digit rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys is a nice résumé builder, but that’s simply not the spot he is in these days.
#Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson was helped off the field after getting tackled on this play.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 3, 2023
In his prime, Elliott was a dual-threat back who could not be game-scripted out of a game. We are no longer in his prime — at all.
Entering Week 13, he earned 49 targets in 26 games since the beginning of 2022 (0 TDs). The path for Elliott to return value is thin, and with a pair of tough matchups on the horizon (Steelers and Chiefs), he’s not going to grade out as a starter for me heading into the final few weeks of the fantasy season.
That said, he is worth an add. Lead roles are difficult to come by, and with the Broncos and Bills on the books for Weeks 16-17, a serious Stevenson injury could result in ‘Zeke’s stock peaking at the perfect time.
If you’re adding him now, you’re not banking on him starting for you, but the fact that it could happen when it matters most for in your league makes him worth the speculative add.
I understand the “I don’t want a running back on a bad team” train of thought and, for the most part, I agree with you. Understanding that, you are best served to keep your mind open this time of year and consider all angles — any production this time of year is valuable (reports surfaced postgame that Stevenson is expected to possibly miss multiple games), if for no other reason than it gives your opponent one fewer avenue to beat you.
Entering Week 13, here are some notable numbers for running backs playing on a below-average offense:
- Najee Harris: Top-12 RB three times in a four-game stretch
- James Conner: First three weeks this season, average positional finish of RB15
- Jerome Ford: Four straight finishes as an RB2
- Breece Hall: Four top-10 finishes
The NFL is a game of inches and, on any given week, even the worst team can be competitive. When you’re adding pieces to your fantasy roster in December, you’re grasping for straws — if any of these players were “safe,” they wouldn’t be on the wire. Elliott doesn’t have much working in his favor, but he does have a clear path to work. That makes him a fine addition to a team looking to make a run in the fantasy playoffs.
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