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Ezekiel Elliott to the Patriots

Zeke Elliott has been a big name in fantasy football but does his presence hurt rising star, Rhomandre Stevenson?

It finally happened; Zeke Elliott has a new home in New England and signed a one-year deal worth up to $6 million. Does Elliott still have anything left in the tank? Does the signing hurt current starter Rhamondre Stevenson in 2023 and beyond? Its time to break it all down,

Ezekiel Elliott’s Value

Now that Elliott is in New England, his dynasty value finally gets some love. While not a whole bunch since he is already a 28-year-old running back but it’s better than no team. Elliott is older and has 2,580 total touches over his NFL career, and the tires on him have to be worn down. In 2022, Elliott hit career lows, averaging a poor 3.8 YPC and in receptions with just 17. He did end up with 12 rushing touchdowns that made him a usable RB3/Flex option in most weeks last year. Regarding team value, the Patriots’ signing was a solid veteran move. The Patriots wanted to bring in a bruiser-type back that could run up the middle, and Elliott can do that.

Elliott should have some role with this Patriots offense. Whatever it is, it’s not likely to be a standalone value for fantasy. When last year’s backup, Damien Harris, returned from injury, he averaged about ten touches and 45 yards per game. That would be good for about five to seven fantasy points per game. Those numbers are strictly bench options that you use during a bye week. If Elliott is going to a similar workload, then the only way is for him to steal some touchdowns. For our dynasty rosters, I’m looking to sell off Elliott before the start of the season. While the value you’ll get is minimum, take the rise in the value of his signing to get him off your team. I will be looking to get the following:

  • 2024 2nd
  • Two 2024 3rds
  • Young Player –  Puka Nacua type

So it’s better to take what you can get for him now. I’d be selling over to the Stevenson owner to have his handcuff. Elliott has a low-end RB3 value for 2023 if he can score touchdowns. His dynasty value has given us some light, but it is time to sell now.

Rhomandre Stevenson Value

Stevenson broke out with over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns last season. He also did very well in the passing game, with 69 receptions for 421 yards and a touchdown. So for Stevenson, the signing of Elliott will surely take a hit on his 2023 value. It’s not the kind of value hit you expect when a big name signs with a team. We all liked Stevenson because he mostly had the backfield to himself and was prime for a great workload. The upside Stevenson could have had is likely gone, but he can provide RB1 numbers still.

Elliott fills in the Harris role, so Stevenson should mostly be fine. Harris had 100 carries last year and 23 targets, which Elliott can do without taking away the workload from Stevenson. Stevenson’s usage on the ground last year was 59% of New England’s 356 carries last year among running backs.

Elliott is an older back that was ranked 48th in juke rate, 41st in breakaway run rate, and 25th in yards after contact per attempt. Stevenson was third, thirteenth, and fifth in those similar categories. Stevenson showed elite rushing ability that Elliott has faded after a long career. Elliott isn’t going to see the passing work either, as Stevenson was in the top ten in pass-blocking rate last year. Stevenson will be on the field and used as a weapon on passing plays.

Stevenson’s one issue last year was getting touchdowns, as he only had five rushing touchdowns on the season. He only had one touchdown after week seven. Hence, the Patriots brought Elliott in because of his ability to score touchdowns. Stevenson had 31 red zone touches last year and crossed the endzone just three times which is a 10% scoring rate. Elliott had 35 red zone carries and 12 rushing touchdowns, giving him a 35% scoring rate. If Stevenson is held to a low touchdown output, it could hurt his chances of repeating as an RB1. If an owner is concerned about Elliott joining his team, I’d be looking to buy low on Stevenson’s dip right now.

Other Patriots RBs

For the other running backs, things aren’t looking great. Ty Montgomery has gotten hyped all off-season, but I would not expect much value from him outside, potentially in deep PPR leagues. I don’t believe Elliott interferes with his potential role on the offense. Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris take significant hits, as I think many thought one of them could step up and be the backup to Stevenson. They are both borderline bench players at this moment. You could stash them on a taxi squad if you can do that. They could reappear with value in 2024 or if an injury occurs.

Final Thoughts

Elliott is a prime sell candidate right now for dynasty leagues, as I don’t see much usage for him after this season. He can potentially be a low-end RB3 if he can secure the touchdowns. Stevenson is a buy now due to the likely dip in his value, and he can secure two more seasons with him. It’s also good to buy and flip during the season since, by the end of his rookie contract, he will be 26th years old. He still has potential for an RB1 season, but the chance has dropped slightly if he can secure that touchdown upside.

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