Elliott was named the Dallas Cowboys' starting running back going into the regular season, ahead of veterans Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. In his professional debut, he had 20 rushing attempts for 51 rushing yards and scored his first career touchdown on an 8-yard run against the New York Giants. The following game against the Washington Redskins, Elliott had 21 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled twice, losing one of them. In a Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears, he posted his first game with over a hundred yards and finished Dallas' second consecutive victory with 30 rushing attempts for 140 rushing yards. On October 9, 2016, Elliott helped his team defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 28–14 and rushed for 134 yards on 15 attempts and scored two rushing touchdowns, including a 60-yard touchdown. The next week the Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers, and Elliott continued his four-game streak with over a hundred yards after carrying the ball 28 times for 157 rushing yards.