A federal appeals court overturned a district court's decision in the Ezekiel Elliott case Thursday, meaning the Dallas Cowboys running back's six-game suspension has been reinstated. The Cowboys have a bye this week.
The 5th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in Elliott case after hearing oral arguments from the league and NFL Players Association lawyers earlier this month. It vacates the preliminary injunction and directs an order to the lower court to dismiss the case.
However, the NFLPA is expected to re-file the case with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in order to keep Elliott playing, according to Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program.
Adam Schefter: As a practical matter, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension goes back into effect but...his lawyers still can refile in Dallas or fight it in NY.
Jason La Canfora: Big win in court for NFL with Elliott suspension being vacated. Would expect NFLPA to appeal but timetable for that filing to be heard murky.
At this point, it's not clear if Elliott will be able to play Week 7 (after his camp files another temporary restraining order) or if he'll return in Week 13 after his suspension. Elliott owners should not cut him-he's too valuable for the fantasy playoffs-but it's not completely clear who the RB2 is in Dallas. Darren McFadden seemed to be slated that role for most of the summer, but he's been a healthy scratch for the last few weeks. Alfred Morris has been active on game days, has the second most carries on the team, and is the most likely to see lead back duties if/when Elliott misses time. McFadden could serve as a change-of-pace/third down back since he's much better than Morris in the passing game. In short, this is shaping up to be a Morris/McFadden committee, but it's possible that the Cowboys have a different plan in mind, involving McFadden as the lead back, or Rod Smith or Keith Smith serving as the passing down back instead of McFadden. Regardless, it's worthwhile to consider adding Morris or McFadden if they are available. Morris is the priority in all scoring formats, but the gap is narrower in PPR leagues.