Ezekiel Elliott represents quite the fantasy conundrum. Some analysts feel he’s worthy of a first-round pack – and a high first-round pick, at that. Other analysts feel that investing a first-round pick on a guy who has never played a down in the NFL is downright insanity.
There’s no denying which camp John Hansen falls into. In fact, he thinks Elliott is one of the five best fantasy rookies to enter the NFL in the last 20+ seasons.
“There’s no weakness. None,” Hansen, the FantasyGuru.com analyst, said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He’s low to the ground, yet he can run away from people in the NFL. In fact, really his first good carry in the NFL, he busted it outside and he beat the defense to the corner and turned it up for nine yards. He also ran over Kam Chancellor. So basically he has it all. He’s not ridiculously eye-popping in any one area; he’s just excellent in every area. And Urban Meyer gave him the greatest compliment a coach can give a running back. He said he’s the best back he’s ever seen without the ball in his hands. So that means no worries about pass protection, he can catch the ball, he’s got lateral agility, he’s got power – he’s outstanding. Again, no weakness. Even (Adrian) Peterson coming out you could say, ‘Well, he’s a little uncomfortable catching the ball out of the backfield.’ Not really with Ezekiel Elliott. Now he’s not as talented and as physically gifted and imposing as Peterson, but wow. Zeke Elliott, just draft him and sleep like a baby – because regardless of what happens, you did the right thing.”
If you take Elliott with your first pick, though, you’ll probably want to target a wide receiver in the second round – and maybe even the third.
“You got to attack wide receivers because it seems like everybody else is nowadays,” Hansen said. “I’ve never seen the wideouts fly off the board like they are now. I’m not all about (using your) first three or four picks at wide receiver. I like to balance it out, so ideally you’re focusing on wide receiver (and addressing) running back. Let’s go two nice backs with your first six picks. Hold off a little bit on your quarterback. Even a Drew Brees is perfectly fine in the sixth round. I’m not a big Gronk guy. I think whenever you draft Gronk in a tougher league, you have a deficiency elsewhere. So I like holding off on the tight end as well, so you’re focusing on the wide receivers and the running backs – mainly the wideouts. Get some value for your quarterback and tight end, and if you draft good players, you’ll be in the running.”