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Ezekiel Elliott and How to Value Suspended Players

A quick and dirty trick for adjusting player values on the fly in the face of early-season suspensions or injuries.

In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. Early on, the fantasy community established him alongside David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell as the clear-cut top-3 fantasy assets for the 2017 season. And then news started dribbling out about a potential suspension.

In a cycle that's rife with actual news, the will-he-or-won't-he suspension saga surrounding Elliott has dominated oxygen in a way that few stories could, with weekly breaking news alerts saying "No news to report." Today the saga reached new heights, with Cris Carter of all people suggesting the league had made up its mind and would hand down a decision within 48 hours, with the NFL responding that, no, it hadn't.

Current speculation has Elliott's potential suspension at four games using Tom Brady's Deflategate suspension as a precedent. But really, nobody should be surprised if the suspension winds up being two games, or one game, or six games, or zero games, instead.

Amid all of this uncertainty, one thing is for sure: given Elliott's cost and his ability, a lot of people at the top of the draft this year are going to wind up with some regrets. We just don't know yet if they'll regret picking him or passing on him.

Given the stakes involved, it becomes increasingly important that we assign the right value to Ezekiel Elliott for 2017. But how do we value a player who may or may not miss the beginning of the season?


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