2022 Tony Pollard Fantasy Football Player Profile

Tony Pollard Dallas Cowboys

It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the running backs. Today, we take a look at Tony Pollard, who is technically the 1B in Dallas, but could have upside as the 1A in Dallas should Ezekiel Elliott slip up. Can we trust Pollard with a roster spot in our 2022 fantasy football leagues?

Tony Pollard ADP and AAV:

Average Draft Position: RB31, 87 overall
Average Auction Value: $2.6

Tony Pollard Statistics:
Year G GS Rush Ru Yds Ru TD Tgt Rec Yards TD Touches Opp Total Yards
2021 15 0 130 719 2 46 39 337 0 169 176 1056
2020 16 2 101 435 4 40 28 193 1 129 141 628
2019 15 0 86 455 2 20 15 107 1 101 106 562
Year YPC Rush/G Ru Yd/G Tgt/G Rec/G Catch% Yds/Tgt Yds/Rec Touches/G Opp/G Yds/G
2021 5.53 8.7 47.9 3.07 2.60 84.8% 7.33 8.64 11.27 11.73 70.4
2020 4.31 6.3 27.2 2.50 1.75 70.0% 4.83 6.89 8.06 8.81 39.25
2019 5.29 5.7 30.3 1.33 1.00 75.0% 5.35 7.13 6.73 7.07 37.47
Year Std Pts HPPR Pts PPR Pts Pts/G HPPR Pts/G PPR Pts/G Pts/Tch HPPR Pts/Tch PPR Pts/Tch
2021 123.6 143.1 162.6 8.24 9.54 10.8 0.73 0.85 0.96
2020 92.8 106.8 120.8 5.80 6.68 7.6 0.72 0.83 0.94
2019 74.2 81.7 89.2 4.95 5.45 5.95 0.73 0.81 0.88
2022 Tony Pollard Fantasy Football Overview:

Tony Pollard had himself a limited breakout in 2021. I say “limited” because the same issue that will plague him in 2021 plagued him in 2022: the plague of Ezekiel Elliott being his teammate. On a per-touch basis, as per BRotoFantasy.com, there was only one running back with at least 150 touches who had higher scrimmage yards over expectation (the “extra” yards a running back is responsible for): Jonathan Taylor. Taylor was the only back with at least 130 touches in 2021 to add more to his touches than Pollard. So, Pollard clears the first bar of fantasy football (is he #goodatfootball) pretty easily. When you take a look at if he produces in fantasy football, he clears that bar as well, ranking eighth in fantasy points per opportunity (min. 150 opportunities).

So, why was Tony Pollard just okay for fantasy football last season (40th in PPR points per game)? Well, he didn’t score a lot of touchdowns, and a quick jump back over to BRotoFantasy.com tells that story pretty clearly; he lead all running backs in points per opportunity without TDs (PPOxTD) among guys with at least 150 opportunities. Not only that, but he scores nearly an extra fantasy point per opportunity (without touchdowns) than the bunched-together #2, #3, and #4 guys (min. 150 opportunities), Cordarrelle Patterson, Aaron Jones, and Leonard Fournette. So, it really comes down to touchdowns being the issue with Pollard. Sure, he got plenty of opportunities between the 20s, but he had just two carries inside the five (one score), and just 21 touches in the red zone. That’s because that was all Ezekiel Elliott territory, as Zeke had 54 opportunities inside the 20, and 21 of those were inside the five.

So, that severely limits Pollard’s upside in the case of a full seventeen-game season from Elliott in 2022. But, he’s also one of the best handcuffs in the league. And you should think of that: a handcuff with flex upside, somewhere between Kareem Hunt and Alexander Mattison in terms of recent players in that mold. He doesn’t get enough targets or touchdowns to consistently matter without a Zeke Elliott injury, but the Cowboys could also just give Zeke fewer touches and give them to Tony Pollard. After all, Pollard is one of the better running backs in the NFL.

2022 Tony Pollard Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:

Tony Pollard Salary Cap Value: $5
Draft Ranking: Find out for your league settings in a Beersheet! (coming in early July)

In snake drafts, Tony Pollard goes as a top-100 pick, a depth running back with upside. I don’t mind him, but rather than Pollard at 92, I would rather take Rashaad Penny at 89 or Melvin Gordon at 94. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait for him to slip a bit before you can get value on him. I like Pollard, just not as much as those guys. And hey, if you don’t believe in one or both of them, you can go snag Pollard right there.

Tony Pollard is part of salary cap drafts where if you want ‘em, go get ‘em. He’s under $3 ($2.7), just behind Melvin Gordon and Cordarrelle Patterson. He has immense upside should Ezekiel Elliott take a step back or end up injured this year. Unfortunately, however, that’s what it will take for Pollard to break out: less from Ezekiel Elliott.

Luckily, that makes for a nice syllogism: if you think that Ezekiel Elliott will take a step back this year, then you should be in on Pollard. Even if you don’t think that then the price of entry is so prohibitively low that you can use your upside bullets on Pollard. He has upside out the wazoo, he just needs to get the opportunity to show it. After all, look at Zeke’s five-zone touches last season, and imagine those on a guy who was also top-two in scrimmage yards over expectation at his position.

Best Case Scenario:

Ezekiel Elliott replaces Jamie Foxx on Beat Shazam, retires, and spends his days going, “oh, I’m sorry, that was actually Puddle of Mudd, not Seether.” Tony Pollard wrests control of the running back room and turns into a top-five fantasy football asset.

Worst Case Scenario:

Pollard continues to split with Ezekiel Elliott, making him a marginal play, at best. You can’t bring yourself to drop him and you clog a roster spot with a flex running back all year long.

Check out all our 2022 player profiles, here.

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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]

[Image Source: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tony_Pollard_(cropped).jpg, cropped under CC BY SA 2.0]

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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