After an ever-frustrating 2013 season in which Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians pledged his undying devotion to Rashard Mendenhall as the team’s starting running back, however, things look a lot clearer heading into the backfield in the 2014 NFL season. Many fantasy football experts could see clearly last year that the rookie Andre Ellington was the superior choice of the two, but Arians always chose to stick with Mendenhall. Going into this season, things have changed out in the desert as Mendenhall announced his retirement. Ellington appears ready to take the reins this year, but Cardinals management has been hesitant to anoint him the full-fledged starter, as they feel that his smaller frame puts him at higher risk of injury.
While I truly believe that Ellington shouldn’t be handcuffed by the Cardinals’ coaching staff in the way he was last season, the staff plans on employing a committee attack out the backfield which has the potential to work really well this season. While Ellington will be a menace running out in open spaces and running passing routes out of the backfield and out wide, the Cardinals have a great opportunity to employ the young Stepfan Taylor as their short-yardage back.
Taylor, who was drafted last year along with Ellington, did not see much of the field, but without a doubt has the ability to be a successful NFL back. Taylor finished his impressive career at Stanford with 4,300 yards and 45 touchdowns. Which are both good for the best in school history. Needless to say, Taylor has the skills to be a fantastic complimentary back in the NFL this year.
Due to the fact that Taylor received little hype coming out of college and played sparingly in his rookie season, his fantasy football stock heading into 2014 should be even more enticing. This a player that a lot of fantasy owners will not be looking at heading into this season. He would be a sneaky pick up toward the back end of fantasy drafts. It may take Taylor a few seasons to truly understand his potential, but he could be in for a respectable 2014 season and is definitely worth a late draft selection by any fantasy football owner.