Is Ezekiel Elliott’s Return to RB1 Status a Possibility? | 2024 Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Draft Guide

by Kacey Kasem
Is Ezekiel Elliott's Return to RB1 Status a Possibility

Running back Ezekiel Elliott returns to Dallas after spending a year in New England. His productivity slipped in 2022, leading to his departure from the Dallas Cowboys. He's now back with the team, replacing Tony Pollard. Fantasy managers want to know is Ezekiel Elliott's return to RB1 status a possibility?

The Dallas Cowboys offense was a powerhouse for Fantasy Football productivity in 2023. CeeDee Lamb was WR1 in PPR fantasy football leagues last season, as the Dallas Cowboys targeted him often.

Prescott ended 2023 as QB3 in PPR leagues last season, rebounding from an injury he suffered in 2022. The quarterback of "America's Team" is a pass-heavy quarterback with one of the league's best wide receivers.

Take a look at the 2024 Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Draft Guide to learn more about fantasy-relevant players on the Cowboys' roster. And after you finish, head over to Sunday Dreamers Club, my fantasy football inspired t-shirt shop.

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Is Ezekiel Elliott's Return to RB1 Status a Possibility?

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Ezekiel Elliott impressively started his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys after being taken fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He ended his rookie season as the overall RB2 in PPR-scoring fantasy football leagues.

Elliott was a top-12 running back in fantasy for the first six years of his career. He had two top-5 finishes in that span, RB5 in 2018 and RB3 in 2019.

Elliott's production declined during his 2022 season with the Dallas Cowboys, and he finished the season as RB22. Elliott only rushed for 876 yards on 231 tries that year. He had more than 1,000 yards in four of his previous seasons.

His 12 touchdowns on the ground in 2022 tied for the second-most touchdowns in his career. He only saw more rushing scores in his rookie season when he totaled 15.

The veteran running back spent his 2023 season with the New England Patriots after the Cowboys decided Tony Pollard would take over the RB1 role.

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While with the Patriots, Elliott played in 17 games, starting five. He tallied 642 yards on the ground, averaging a career-low of 3.5 yards per carry. He ran in three scores while catching an additional two touchdowns.

Pollard did not meet Dallas' expectations and is on the Tennessee Titans roster, taking over for Derrick Henry. Dallas decided not to take a running back in the draft, instead opting to reunite with Elliott.

Rico Dowdle is back this season after posting 242 yards and two touchdowns in 2023. Deuce Vaughn, Royce Freeman, Hunter Luepke, and others will be competing for a spot on the roster. Head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that the Cowboys will use multiple running backs this season. Welcome to the dreaded "running back by committee".

In his first go with the Cowboys, Elliott had an average of 268.7 carries per season. Back with Dallas, he won't do as much. The former first-round pick can score from the goal line.

Dallas scored 36 rushing touchdowns in 2023, the most in the league. Elliott should see an abundance of red-zone opportunities.

Zeke will be a touchdown-dependent running back who won't see an RB1 finish again. While inconsistent, there will be a few weeks when he gets double-digit fantasy points due to his touchdown upside.

The Dallas backfield isn't one worth touching unless you're doing a best ball draft. The former Pro Bowler comes in at RB63 in the F6P Rankings, showing an ADP of 130.5 (RB40) on Fantasy Pros.

Will CeeDee Lamb be the Overall WR1 in Fantasy Football?

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A top option at wide receiver for fantasy football in 2023 was Dallas Cowboys' star wideout CeeDee Lamb. According to ESPN, Lamb was the player on most championship fantasy rosters last season. 30.6% of those championship teams rostered the wide receiver.

In his fourth season with the Cowboys, Lamb secured 14 total touchdowns. He ended the season as the overall WR1, with 1,749 yards on 135 receptions and a career-high 12 receiving scores.

The Dallas Cowboys did not take anyone in the 2024 NFL Draft to compete with the alpha wide receiver. Noteworthy targets on the Cowboys' roster include Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks, and Jalen Tolbert.

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Ferguson was second in receptions for the Cowboys with 71. That's 64 fewer receptions than Lamb. Cooks was second on the team in touchdowns with eight and is the clear WR2 behind Lamb.

Quarterback Dak Prescott's favorite target is the former 17th overall pick. In 2023, 32.9% of Prescott's completions went to Lamb.

Having Prescott under center for another season will benefit Lamb, as the Cowboys' quarterback was ranked third in passing yards and first in touchdowns for the 2023 NFL season.

Lamb is a durable player who has only missed one game in his NFL career. When you draft Lamb, you get a dependable wide receiver who continues to see his ceiling grow.

Lamb looks to get a considerable payday entering season five after the Minnesota Vikings gave Justin Jefferson a four-year extension worth $140 million and $110 million in guaranteed money.

The WR1 in Dallas should end 2024 as the overall WR1 for fantasy football. You'll have to pay a steep price for Lamb in this year's drafts, but you're getting one of the league-winning guys. Lamb is ranked as the WR2 in F6P Rankings, with Fantasy Pros showing an ADP of 2.0 (WR1).

Can Dak Prescott Repeat Last Year's Fantasy Performance and be a QB1 in 2024?

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The QB3 in fantasy football for 2023 was Dak Prescott, who had 351.8 overall fantasy points. Over the season, Prescott totaled 20 or more fantasy points in eight games.

The Dallas quarterback faced injury in 2022, suffering a fractured thumb. He bounced back in 2023, tossing 36 touchdowns, more than any other QB in the league. Additionally, Prescott led the NFL in completions with 410.

Dallas's overall passing offense was third in the league in 2023. On average, the Cowboys had 258.6 passing yards per game. Prescott's completion percentage was 69.5%, tied for first in the league with Kirk Cousins, who played fewer games.

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Prescott had the third-most yards through the air with 4,515, behind Tua Tagovailoa and Jared Goff. The former Pro Bowler benefitted significantly from the gifted CeeDee Lamb, the most targeted player in the NFL in 2023.

Brandin Cooks is a reliable wide receiver who scored the second-most touchdowns on the team last season with eight. Jake Ferguson is one of the standout tight ends in the league, snagging 71 receptions for 761 yards and five scores last season. The dependable supporting cast continues to help Prescott's fantasy presence.

The Cowboys' field general gets most of his work done through the air and is not considered a dual threat like Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts. Being only a passer tends to hurt his ADP, as many drafters want a quarterback who can run and pass.

Offensive line questions still exist, as Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz are no longer on the roster. Dallas drafted tackle Tyler Guyton and lineman Cooper Beebe with two of their three first picks of the 2024 NFL Draft, but we won't know how that plays out until the season starts.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old is in the final year of his contract and will get a giant deal from either Dallas or another team. Dallas cannot franchise tag him next season, and he has a no-trade clause. Per Todd Archer of ESPN, Prescott wants to remain with the team.

Prescott's ability to make plays through the air will continue in 2024 as he returns to work with Lamb and Company. The Dallas quarterback should be viewed as a QB1 in fantasy football, considering the offense he leads. He is ranked QB12 in the F6P Rankings and has a FantasyPros ADP of 92.0 (QB9).

Final Thoughts

Having a piece of the Dallas offense is ideal for your fantasy roster. Most pass-catching role players on the Cowboys starting roster are worth having on your team due to the pure volume of targets. I am a Cowboys fan, and whenever I draft a Cowboys player, people say, "Homer pick." If a homer means I win my fantasy league, I'll be a homer.

Check out our other great Fantasy Football content from the F6P Team!

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