Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was granted a temporary restraining order Friday evening. This means his suspension has been blocked for the foreseeable future, and the 22-year-old now appears likely to play in each of the Cowboys' games this season.
For those of you who selected Elliott with one of the top three picks earlier this year, consider yourself bailed out. For those of you who snagged him at a discount in the second or third round of recent drafts, your bold strategy appears to have panned out. And for those of you who traded Elliott away at a discount in recent weeks, let this be a lesson as to why you shouldn't sell low.
According to my colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft, on the date his six-game suspension was announced (August 11), Elliott was the No. 4 player in terms of average draft position at 3.9. At kickoff of Thursday's season opener, Elliott's ADP had dropped to 17th (19.0), and of the six other running backs he fell behind between those dates, not one finished within even 45 non-PPR or 25 PPR fantasy points of his 2016 totals.
Most 2017 fantasy drafts are complete, but some of you will be hosting your draft party this weekend. Though there remains some slight risk Elliott could end up serving a suspension late this season -- which would be devastating during the fantasy playoffs -- that outcome appears unlikely. Considering his massive fantasy ceiling, it's now fair to reconsider Elliott during the early stages of the first round. I've bumped him back to third overall behind David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell, but -- same as was the case prior to his six-game suspension -- I wouldn't fault anyone who wanted to swing back to wide receiver and take Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. instead.
Elliott should obviously be locked into lineups against New York this weekend and beyond, but the same can't be said for Darren McFadden. Those who went with the "zero-RB" draft strategy and scooped up McFadden in the middle rounds may be staring at a void at that position. McFadden remains one of the game's most valuable handcuffs, but he'll only see a few touches per week as long as Elliott is active, which leaves him with no standalone value in a majority of formats. If you're looking for a Week 1 dart throw or alternative upside bench stash at running back, the likes of D'Onta Foreman, Samaje Perine, Jamaal Williams, Wendell Smallwood and Chris Carson are available in over 89 percent of ESPN leagues.
Now back in the fold for Dallas, Elliott has re-emerged as the favorite to repeat as the league's leading rusher and is also a strong bet to improve on his rookie-season reception total of 32. Dallas' offensive line did lose two key pieces -- Doug Free and Ronald Leary -- during the offseason, but it remains one of the league's top units. Pencil in Elliott for 1,900 yards and 14 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2017.