What To Do With Ezekiel Elliott and Sammy Watkins
Sometimes, fantasy football throws you a curveball (yes, I am intentionally combining two different sports here), and everything changes. You’re ready to draft your team, but then the NFL barges in and says “Not so fast! We want to make things exciting again.”
That’s what happened this past week. ICYMI, Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games, and Sammy Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
So, what do you do with Zeke and Sammy? Where do you draft them now? Do you even draft them?
So many questions! Let’s tackle them (unintentional football pun) one at a time, starting with Zeke.
From Hero to Zero Zeke
He once was a top three draft pick. But now, he’s not even in the top 25. I can picture that being a headline on ESPN this week.
Since the NFL gave him the suspension, Zeke has dropped down to 27th overall in ESPN rankings (and 16th overall in our Frontline Fantasy Football rankings). In the mock drafts I’ve been doing (eight, 10, and 12-team standard) he’s been getting drafted in the late second to early third round. Honestly, it feels weird to type that sentence.
For an elite running back that doesn’t split any carries and ran for 1,631 yards and 16 total touchdowns last year, that’s pretty insane. I get that six games is a long time to be gone and he would be taking up a bench spot, but I think Zeke is still worth drafting. After those six games (assuming he sits Week 1 through Week 6) he will be a monster for your team. As long as you have a solid RB3 to fill in for him while he’s suspended, your team should survive.
Another things to consider is that Zeke is planning on appealing his suspension. When Tom Brady was suspended back in 2015, things got a little crazy. A judge nullified the suspension, then an appeals panel reversed the nullification, so Brady was suspended again. Then, Brady appealed and began a legal battle with the NFL that lasted over a year, which eventually ended in Brady giving up his appeal and sitting out his four-game suspension.
All this to say that this suspension could take a while to go into effect. Zeke could still play and serve his suspension later, especially since we’re just a few weeks away from Week 1. Time will tell, but if Zeke falls to me in the late second round of my drafts, I’m taking him.
Poor Sammy Watkins. Now that he’s finally healthy (that’ll probably change after Week 1) he gets traded to one of the worst teams in the NFL: the Rams. It’s a major downgrade for Watkins, and his fantasy value plummets, too.
Now he’ll have Jared Goff throwing to him (or attempting to throw to him). Even though Watkins immediately becomes the WR1 on the Rams, I don’t like his chances. Watkins is a deep threat receiver, but Goff isn’t a deep thrower. Last year, Goff only averaged 6.94 yards per pass attempt, which is pretty bad considering that’s only better than Alex Smith and Sam Bradford.
Watkins’ tendency to always be injured combined with the dismal state of his new team makes we want to stay far away from him come draft time. ESPN has him 42nd overall in standard rankings and WR21. We have him 47th overall WR20. Honestly, I still think that’s too high, and I would avoid him.
What do you think of Zeke and Sammy?
Do you agree with me, or do you strongly disagree?
Let me know in the comments!