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Below are the game-by-game projections for Ezekiel Elliott. These projections are a combination of my yearly projection models, Vegas win totals, and defensive matchups. Let’s take a look at his per-game expectations in 2020.
Week 1: at Los Angeles Rams
The Cowboys hot offense takes to the field for the first time this season against a Rams’ defense that was gutted in the off season, and did little to shore it back up especially at linebacker. Zeke runs wild as he marches to nearly 27 fantasy points his first week in action.
Predicted stat line: 25 rushes, 126 rush yards, 2 rush TD; 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (26.9 fantasy points)
Week 2: vs Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons’ improved defense does their best to step up but it’s not enough to come away with a win. Their improved run defense forces the Cowboys to get creative and involve Zeke more in the passing game. Back-to-back 20 plus point games.
Predicted stat line: 21 rushes, 94 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 4 reception, 31 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (20.5 fantasy points)
Week 3: at Seattle Seahawks
Travelling to Seattle is almost as defeating as traveling to Foxboro, and it shows in the yardage total. The Cowboys fall behind early and transition to a pass-heavy attack that involves Elliott catching six passes.
Predicted stat line: 17 rushes, 58 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 6 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (19.7 fantasy points)
Week 4: vs Cleveland Browns
Dallas gets ahead early in this one and they effectively drain the clock as he rumbles for 106 yards. The Browns ranked eighth in points allowed to RBs and get lucky to hold him to only 18 points.
Predicted stat line: 20 rushes, 106 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 1 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (17.9 fantasy points)
Week 5: vs New York Giants
At home against the G-men, this is a relatively easy win. Elliott actually gets subbed out in the fourth quarter to Tony Pollard. The Wide Receivers feast in this game against a poor secondary instead of the backfield.
Predicted stat line: 15 rushes, 52 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 2 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (13.6 fantasy points)
Week 6: vs Arizona Cardinals
Elliott extends his touchdown streak to six games straight. His fantasy production has linked well to Cowboys winning five out of their first six matchups. Positive game scripts and sub-par fantasy defenses make it a gorgeous starting schedule lineup.
Predicted stat line: 16 rushes, 73 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 3 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (17.3 fantasy points)
Week 7: vs Washington Redskins
You may have noticed a significant trend in my game-by-game projection articles, and that is the Redskins being arguably the most fantasy friendly matchup for running backs. They gave up a plethora of points last year, and have one of the lowest Vegas win total projections. All of this meaning teams will get ahead and continue to run against them with high efficiency. This week is no different.
Predicted stat line: 24 rushes, 133 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.4 fantasy points)
Week 8: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles funnel-style defense was well documented last season and is what made them one of the best rushing defenses in the league. That combined with their poor secondary made it very inviting for teams to push the ball through the air. Zeke scores one of his lowest scores of the year.
Predicted stat line: 13 rushes, 39 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 3 receptions, 15 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (6.9 fantasy points)
Week 9: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers defense was surprisingly stingy last season and I expect more of the same. They hold Elliott’s rushing efficiency to less than 4.0 yards per carry but he saves the day by finding the end zone after getting shut down the week prior.
Predicted stat line: 17 rushes, 67 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 2 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (15.4 fantasy points)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings
Fresh off the bye, the Cowboys head to Minnesota to face a capable Vikings’ defense. In what normally has been tough sledding for running backs, the bye week has provided the offense with fresh legs as he continues to put top numbers at the position.
Predicted stat line: 19 rushes, 85 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.9 fantasy points)
Week 12: vs Washington Redskins
Another dream matchup with the Redskins goes as predicted. Rushing dominance and a win help Elliott eclipsed 20 points in back-to-back weeks yet again.
Predicted stat line: 21 rushes, 116 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 2 receptions, 16 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (20.2 fantasy points)
Week 13: at Baltimore Ravens
Things take an ugly turn for Elliott in week 13 as they travel to meet the Ravens. One of the top defenses against running backs with an offense designed to kill the clock spells doom for one of the best backs in the league. They allowed the fewest receptions to running backs in 2019 with only 60.
Predicted stat line: 12 rushes, 41 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 1 reception, 4 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (5.0 fantasy points)
Week 14: at Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy owners rejoice for a far better matchup as fantasy playoffs draw near and get under way. Zeke finds his groove in the passing game once again as McCarthy keeps warming up to involving him more as a receiver.
Predicted stat line: 18 rushes, 89 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 5 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (21.7 fantasy points)
Week 15: vs San Francisco 49ers
This roller coaster of fantasy matchups comes at a brutal time as owners fight their way through tough semifinal matchups. The Niners had the third fewest points allowed to backs last year and they continue to invest in defense and specifically their defensive line despite some turnover. Zeke struggles but gets close to 10 points.
Predicted stat line: 17 rushes, 67 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 2 receptions, 17 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (9.4 fantasy points)
Week 16: vs Philadelphia Eagles
What a difference a few months make. After getting virtually shut out in their last matchup, the Cowboys realize Elliott’s strength against the Eagles comes in the passing game. He nearly out-produces through the air than he does on the ground despite half the touches.
Predicted stat line: 16 rushes, 59 rush yards, 0 rush TD; 7 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD (21.2 fantasy points)
Week 17: at New York Giants
In a week that is lost for many, the Cowboys are still playing for playoff seeding. The result is a 148 all-purpose yard game from Elliott as they secure the win.
Predicted stat line: 21 rushes, 96 rush yards, 1 rush TD; 6 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 0 receiving TD (23.8 fantasy points)
2020 Season Totals
|Opponent||Rushes||Rushing Yards||Rushing TDs||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs||Fantasy Points|
Elliott finishes the season as the RB4 in half-PPR per my model. His high priced contract and the elite offense continue to point toward heavy use and touchdown totals. He ends with 52 receptions which would have been higher if Pollard was not in the picture. The Cowboys fantasy-friendly starting schedule should set a nice base to his value, but his schedule volatility come fantasy playoff time might make it worth your while to trade for a similar top running back just before the playoffs.
Thanks for reading and stay golden! If you like what you learned, follow me @DavidZach16 for more interesting stats and tidbits throughout the year.