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Fantasy Impact: A New Beginning for Tony Pollard in Tennessee

By Steve Schwarz | 3/12/24

Tony Pollard

Pollard in Dallas

Tony Pollard was great as the backup/change-of-pace to Ezekiel Elliott for many years in Dallas, but when he was handed the lead role, he was disappointing. He rushed for almost the exact yards he rushed for in 2022, but carried the ball 59 more times. His rushing averaged dropped from 5.2 ypc to 4.0 ypc. His rushing touchdowns fell from nine to six. He caught more balls (55 to 39 in 2022, but his yards per reception dropped from 9.5 ypr to 5.7 and he failed to score on any of the catches after scoring three times in 2022. Was this the result of his ankle/leg injury in 2022? He did seem to regain some of his effectiveness later in the season. Pollard finished 14th in total fantasy points (full PPR), but 23rd in FPts/G at 13.1. All-in-all, it was not what fantasy owners had projected before the season began.

Pollard in Tennessee

In signing with the Titans, Pollard figures to share the workload with second-year running back Tyjae Spears (100-453-2 rushing and 52-385-1 receiving). Free agent Derrick Henry will most likely be gone (possibly to Dallas where he owns a home). Henry saw 280 rushing attempts in 2023, but I wouldnít expect Pollard to grab all of them. I think Pollard will see around 210 rushing attempts, down from 252 last season, with Spears seeing much more work, perhaps 150-160 rushing attempts. Both men can catch the ball and should share the role.

The problem for Pollard, is that heís used to being in a high-flying offense with a big passing game to prevent any overloaded boxes. Unfortunately, Will Levis isnít Dak Prescott. An aging DeAndre Hopkins isnít CeeDee Lamb. And the Tennessee offensive line is nowhere near as good as the Dallas Cowboys offensive line, though they could add an offensive lineman early in this yearís draft or through free agency.

Bottom line

Like DíAndre Swift, the size of the free agent contract would indicate that Pollard will get every chance to be the starter and see 65% of the workload. But Spears showed a lot of promise in 2023 and if Pollard gets off to a slow start there could be a significant change later in the season. Pollard will be a high-risk pick with an RB1 upside, but he could also find himself in a 50-50 shared situation and disappoint fantasy owners for a second consecutive season. Let the buyer beware.