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Tony Pollard start or sit: Week 1 fantasy football advice

We break down the fantasy football outlook of Tony Pollard ahead of the Cowboys Week 1 matchup against the Bucs.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys runs from a tackle by free safety Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at SoFi Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the Dallas Cowboys look to bounce back from their Wild Card loss in 2021, they will do so by employing a dual option in the backfield. Tony Pollard set career highs in carries, rushing yards, and rushing yards per attempt last season as he solidified more of a prominent role going forward. As Dallas prepares to welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, Pollard should be in line for a significant number of carries Sunday night.

Fantasy Football analysis: Cowboys RB Tony Pollard

Pollard is in a prime situation for fantasy managers as the Cowboys' running back is a 1A/1B option when splitting carries with Ezekiel Elliot. If Elliot were to miss any time, then Pollard easily slides into the RB1 role for Dallas, and he has the track record to prove he’s worth the investment. Pollard was excellent when given the ball last season, finishing fourth in the NFL in yards per attempt after contact and first in yards per route run among all running backs.

The stats are promising though the opponent will be a challenge nonetheless. Tampa Bay surrendered the third-lowest fantasy points to opposing running backs with an average of 15.0 per game. If Pollard and Elliot were to split carries down the middle, that average fantasy point volume leaves slim pickings for Pollard.

Start or sit in Week 1?

Though the fantasy matchup is formidable, Pollard still warrants a start in Week 1 lineups, in particular, if you have an open flex spot available. His 1A/1B status makes him a prime candidate to get a sufficient number of carries each week, and the potential for him to be the RB1 if Elliot fell to injury leaves Pollard with great upside. Start Pollard in Week 1 at home, with the fantasy upside in his favor.