Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard has gone from fantasy handcuff to possibly a lot more thanks to a big showing in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Ezekiel Elliott has been the Cowboys' clear-cut starter at running back since being drafted in 2016, but he suddenly has to compete for touches thanks to the emergence of Pollard.
Pollard thrived in Sunday's game, finishing with 109 rushing yards on 13 carries, plus three catches for 31 yards. He scored the game's first touchdown on a well-designed play where he got to the edge:
Tony Pollard is across for a <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a> touchdown 🙌 <a href="https://twitter.com/Tp__5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tp__5</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsLAC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsLAC</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/29bOBTvsKG">pic.twitter.com/29bOBTvsKG</a>
The Cowboys continued to feed him throughout the game to the point he outplayed Elliott:
The Cowboys couldn't get anything going on the ground in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Pollard still got seven touches, including four catches for 29 yards.
After the showing in Week 2, it's clear Dallas will continue to give the third-year back opportunities. While fantasy managers likely drafted Pollard in case Elliott got hurt, Pollard could now be used as a flex starter, especially in points-per-reception leagues. He should have a role similar to Kareem Hunt with the chance for more as the year progresses.
If for some reason Pollard is still available in your league, add him as soon as possible.
Of course, this emergence doesn't mean anyone should give up on Elliott. While he was outshone, the starter still found the end zone:
Zeke carried the ball 16 times for 71 yards, a solid 4.4 yards per carry.
The three-time Pro Bowler remains a key part of one of the top offenses in the NFL and he should get plenty of chances, especially near the goal line. The coaching staff kept him on the field for the majority of the final drive, which resulted in a game-winning field goal.
He also isn't going anywhere considering the Cowboys would be left with over $30 million in dead cap after this season if they tried to move on from him, per Spotrac.
Losing every-down work could lower fantasy expectations for Elliott this season after he was taken in the first round of fantasy drafts, but he should still be considered an RB1. Keep him in your lineups as long as he is healthy.