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Ezekiel Elliott ended up with the most touches of any RB in 2018, and it might not have happened if Amari Cooper didn’t show up. Once Amari was acquired, Zeke’s numbers shot up in almost every statistical category; his per game reception and receiving yardage average nearly doubled to 6.5 catches for 49 yards per game, he had nearly 3 more attempts per game, and he averaged more than 100 yards rushing the rest of the way.

28 touches for 150 yards from scrimmage in each game resulted in 25.35 PPR points per game compared to 18.35 PPR points per game. Now, one can say that it wasn’t just Amari that drove these numbers, but it’s hard to argue when you look at the teams’ numbers. The entire offense averaged 42 more yards of offense, 67 more passing yards, and went from 30th in third down percentage to 1st. New drives mean more opportunity for Zeke. Dak willing to get the ball to the sidelines more means more attention away from Zeke. The Cowboys also went 7-2 after their 3-4 start after the trade; more positive game scripts means more touches for Zeke.

Amari also came with Dallas playing more 11-personnel, meaning 3 WR sets. They moved from about 53% 11-personnel to 70.7% right away, which is the primary indicator for whether defenses stack the box. In this formation, Zeke only saw a stacked box 2.6% of the time in those first few weeks in that formation rather than the 46.7% he saw otherwise.

It’s hard to remember any single non-QB offensive player making this type of impact on the entire team after a mid-season trade. And because off it, Zeke becomes even more valuable.

Who are you drafting before Zeke in 2019? It’ll be tough for me to name anyone. Let me know! 👇👇