2. Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott is on a one-year deal and probably won’t be back with New England next year, so the Patriots should heavily consider moving him at the deadline.
Similar to Smith-Schuster, Elliott hasn’t gotten off to the best start with the Patriots. And also similar to Smith-Schuster, that isn’t totally his fault. Zeke didn’t sign with New England until late in the preseason, so he didn’t have much time to ramp up and get acclimated with his new team.
After quiet outings in Weeks 1 and 2, Elliott erupted for 80 rushing yards on 16 carries in Week 3. That’s more like it.
Assuming Zeke stays healthy, he could be a nice trade chip at the deadline. Running backs are constantly getting hurt (as we just saw with Nick Chubb), so healthy ones are always in high demand. Elliott would probably have more value for a contender than he would for New England, even if it’s just as an insurance policy.
The Patriots won’t need Zeke as much if and when Rhamondre Stevenson finally gets going, or if Elliott’s Week 3 performance turns out to be an aberration. He’s a proven veteran with a high floor, so he’ll bring something back for New England if the team opts to trade him.