Quite a turn of events in the Ezekiel Elliott saga. Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division Judge Amos Mazzant granted Elliott a preliminary injunction against the six-game suspension issued by the NFL earlier this month. Mazzant's opinion held that Elliott "was denied a fundamentally fair hearing" and therefore granted his request for the injunction.
As a result, Elliott is now likely to play the entire 2017 season for the Dallas Cowboys, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Of course, this matter is far from over. Elliott's case will get pushed back to 2018 from what we know right now. So, think of this as similar to Tom Brady's battle against his own suspension as a result of the Deflategate controversy, a ruling which was delayed through the 2015 season until he eventually served a four-game suspension to start off 2016.
If you drafted Ezekiel Elliott in fantasy football after initial news of his six-game ban came down, it appears you've landed a massive bargain. Elliott's ADP slipped from a clear-cut top-four overall pick down into the late first to second or third rounds. There's little question he will outkick that draft cost should he indeed play the entire season as the feature back in Dallas.
Elliott and his Cowboys teammates will head into the 2017 campaign for a Sunday night showdown with their division rival New York Giants and their defense that allowed just 3.6 yards per carry last season. Following that game, they'll travel into two more less than ideal matchups against the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, before returning home to play the Rams and Packers prior to their Week 6 bye. It's a difficult early slog for the reigning NFC East champions but indicative of their entire slate this year. According to Warren Sharp's superior strength of schedule model, Dallas has one of the 10 most difficult schedules this season.
While success overall and in the running game may not come as easy as it did in 2016 for Dallas, and natural regression may sour some of their game scripts, there's no reason to damper optimism for the on-field stock of Ezekiel Elliott to a drastic degree. Again, this is a player likely to finish the season as a high-end fantasy RB1 and has week-winning ability well within his range of outcomes. Whatever you believed his value to be back in June or early July, you may now resume that mode of thinking.
If you play in a dynasty league, keeper format or just like to look into the crystal ball, just bear in mind this isn't the end of the story. The judge didn't rule that Elliott will never serve his suspension, consider it as he simply put a pause on the process for the time being. Factor that into your future plans in those league varieties. We haven't heard the last of this case, not by a long shot. All we know right now is that Ezekiel Elliott will be available to use in fantasy football in games we did not expect him to be this time yesterday. React to that as you wish.