With league championship battles in the balance, we’re here for all of your fantasy football start/sit needs for Week 16. The Game of the Week will be the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys. There’s little doubt this game will come down to the playmaking from each team’s established stars.
Two key playmakers to watch this week between the Cowboys and Eagles are running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Let’s dive into whether you should start Elliott and Pollard against Philadelphia.
Should You Start Ezekiel Elliott vs. the Eagles?
Sitting as the RB19 this season after missing two games, Elliott has been a good fantasy producer for his managers thanks to his 10 touchdowns and average of 13.5 points per game. Consistency is the name of Zeke’s game, and he’s good for 15 carries for at least 50 yards each week. It also helps that he’s reached double-digit touchdowns for the third time in four years.
Although Elliott isn’t a dynamic back who helps as a receiver or with explosive plays anymore, he’s on an absolute tear with scoring. Elliott’s reached the end zone in seven straight weeks. That includes the game that started his resurgence, Week 6 against the Eagles, in which he had 13 carries for 81 yards.
Elliott has eclipsed 81 yards just once since then but has been a perfect complement to Pollard’s more explosive style. Only four backs have more red-zone fantasy points than Elliott, with all 10 of his scores coming within the 20. This gives him immense value every week because he plays such a prominent role in the NFL’s third-highest-scoring offense.
Philadelphia tried to bolster a defense that struggled against the run without Jordan Davis manning the middle, but old veterans Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph haven’t helped much. The Eagles have allowed over 106 yards rushing in three of their last four weeks, including 157 against Chicago last week.
Elliott probably won’t dominate on the ground because Pollard takes so many touches, but he’ll get red-zone looks. That’s enough for me to start Elliott, barring an extremely good RB2 or Flex option who can give a higher upside than around 55 yards and a touchdown.
Should You Start Tony Pollard vs. the Eagles?
Now isn’t the time to bench the RB7 on the season. Just 31 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season, Pollard has been brilliant after getting the opportunity to carry more of the load in Dallas. Set to be a free agent this offseason, Pollard is the engine that makes this offense dynamic.
There are some concerns as to whether Pollard is wearing down, which is why I’ve always said Elliott is a valuable tandem piece to have alongside him. He’s averaged 4.2 yards per carry or less in three of his last four games despite playing some low-end rush defenses. The Eagles aren’t overly stout, but Pollard’s biggest value is likely as a pass catcher this week.
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It’s likely Pollard benefits from volume once again. He’s totaled 100 or more yards in six of his last eight outings, in part because he gets a ton of touches. His 210 touches are 41 more than he’s seen in a season, and he hasn’t had fewer than 14 since Week 7.
Even with the downturn of efficiency, Pollard is a lock to give you points. With any luck, he’ll score his 13th touchdown of the season.