Fantasy Football Instant Reaction: Ezekiel Elliott granted temporary restraining order, will play in Week 7; Legal analyst predicts he could play rest of season
Ezekiel Elliott won the latest round of his ongoing legal fight, allowing him to play in the next two games for the Cowboys.
Update: Sports Legal Analyst Amy Dash appeared on the Fantasy Football Today podcast Wednesday, saying Elliott will play in each of the next two games. She also predicts Elliott could play out the remainder of the season. Listen to her reasoning here:
Here is our initial reaction, as written Tuesday evening:
It's not over. It may not be over until well after the season ends at this pace. But, the latest turn in the Ezekiel Elliott case went his way, as a New York court granted Elliott a temporary restraining order Tuesday, meaning the NFL cannot suspend him for the time being.
What does this mean?
The short, basic answer – and the one you need to know right now – is this means Elliott can play in Week 7 against the 49ers. His status beyond that is in doubt, as the restraining order is in place until Oct. 30:
The Cowboys face Washington on Oct. 29, so there is a chance he could take the field by then, if the hearing doesn't take place until the 30th – or a decision isn't reached by then.
The also-short-but-ultimately-more-complicated answer is, this isn't over. In about two weeks, we're going to do it all again.
Elliott appears to have been granted his TRO on something of a technicality. The judge originally assigned to the case is on vacation. Really. The presiding judge told the court earlier Tuesday he did not want to make a ruling until the original judge was back, and that ultimately turned out to be the decision.
So, Elliott's case hasn't been decided on its merits. Yet. When the original judge returns from vacation, the two sides will reconvene and do it all again. They'll present their cases to the court, the judge will make a decision, and then we Fantasy writers will have to parse exactly what that means.
This means Elliott's long-term Fantasy value remains very much up in the air. Every week this gets pushed back is one more week you get to have him in your lineup, but we're starting to get to the point where any suspension will impact his availability for the Fantasy playoffs. If his suspension had begun in Week 7, Elliott would have been eligible to return for Week 13, typically the final week of the Fantasy regular season.
Now? If he loses his hearing for a preliminary injunction in two weeks, Elliott's suspension could begin in Week 9 against the Chiefs. He would then be eligible to return in Week 15 – the semifinals for most Fantasy playoffs. If you make the playoffs and they don't begin until Week 15, that's not a bad outcome. If you don't get there, this suspension would likely be a big reason why.
So, the top-line takeaway from this is good news. You've got Elliott for Week 7 and maybe Week 8, and possibly beyond. But, again: This isn't over. And, while the news is good for now, this could be just delaying the inevitable.
Of course this isn't over. But, for now, Fantasy players can get Elliott back in their lineups. Given how much uncertainty hangs over him, that's the best you can hope for.
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