What you need to know about the Week 6 matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles
Ezekiel Elliott is the first running back drafted by the Cowboys this year.
That’s a significant accomplishment for a team that finished 27th in rushing yards per game last year.
But it also means Elliott is a bit of a rarity in the NFL.
Elliott had just eight rushing touchdowns in 2016, his final year of college football.
This season, he has 15 touchdowns.
Elliott is in a position to do something rare: score a touchdown against the Eagles.
Elliott has a team-high three touchdown passes in four games against Philadelphia.
He is on pace for 847 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Elliott did not have a touchdown run in the season opener against the Falcons, which was against the league’s best defense.
Elliott ran for another score in Week 3, but he also rushed for two touchdowns in the loss to the Lions.
Elliott’s ability to score points is a testament to his ability to play in the passing game, and he is on track to become the third running back selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the draft.
Elliott should get plenty of opportunity to do so against the Cowboys.
The Eagles have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season (22.6 per game) and have allowed just two running backs to score more than 50 fantasy points in a game.
The Cowboys’ defense has allowed just three running backs over the past four weeks.
Elliott may not have the speed of a dominant runner like DeMarco Murray, but the Eagles are allowing just five rushing touchdowns this year, third fewest in the league.
Elliott could have a chance to make an impact in the second half of the game.
In his first three games, Elliott has averaged 4.8 yards per carry and three touchdowns per game.
Elliott hasn’t rushed for a touchdown since Week 3 against the Cardinals.
He has just three touchdowns in four appearances against Philadelphia since that loss, but Elliott has two scores in the Cowboys’ last two road games against the Lions and Eagles.
I think Elliott has the potential to score some touchdowns in his first four games.
The question will be whether he will be able to keep it up against the Philadelphia defense, which ranks No. 8 in fantasy points allowed per game and No. 6 in yards per play allowed.
I would expect Elliott to run a lot in the Eagles’ red zone, and the Cowboys defense is not particularly deep.
Elliott won’t be a huge fantasy play against Philadelphia this season, but his potential to put up big scores is there.
Elliott will get a lot of opportunities to score touchdowns against the Dallas defense.
Dallas (2-5) is coming off a loss to Washington, and it has allowed the most fantasy points per game to running back (12.4) and receiving back (10.7) in the past two weeks.
It is also tied for fifth in fantasy yards allowed per carry (11.1) and seventh in fantasy rushing yards (1,828).
Elliott, however, was not able to score in either of his first two games.
Elliott finished with just two rushing touchdowns against Washington in Week 2.
He had two rushing scores in Week 6 against the Saints.
I believe Elliott has plenty of potential to continue his impressive scoring pace.
I expect him to score at least 10 points in each of his four games this season and to do that he’ll need to do it against a defense that has allowed a rushing touchdown in just two games this year (Week 2 at Washington and Week 3 at Chicago).
Elliott is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (three) and has scored 10 or more fantasy points just twice this season; both times against the Vikings.
I’m not buying Elliott as a top-10 running back, but if he continues his scoring pace, I think he could be a top two or three running back.
Elliott was not a factor in Dallas’ win over the Rams on Sunday night, finishing with just three rushing touchdowns.
His two rushing touchdown runs came in the fourth quarter and in the third quarter.
Elliott looked good against the Rams, but a lack of touches will limit his production against Philadelphia’s defense.
Philadelphia (2, 6) is on the road for the first time this season against a top five defense, and I think the Eagles will be looking for their best performance of the season.
The 49ers have allowed a total of six running backs (five rushing, one receiving) to score double-digit fantasy points, the most in the entire league.
If Elliott can produce more than 10 fantasy points against the 49ers defense, I expect a breakout performance for the rookie running back in Week 7.
I like Elliott to be a boom-or-bust play in his next four games, but I think a solid outing could keep Elliott in the top five running backs in fantasy scoring.
Elliott scored eight or more points in eight games against Atlanta, but those games were against the Atlanta defense that was ranked No. 11 in fantasy defenses last year, giving up just 10.6