Andre Ellington was productive when given a chance as a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, as he averaged 5.5 yards per carry with 39 receptions for 371 yards. He had at least nine carries in each of his final five games last season, totaling 261 rushing yards (4.7 yards per carry) along with 13 receptions for 145 yards in that span. The retirement of Rashard Mendenhall has Ellington in line for a bigger role this year, and fantasy football owners will have to pay attention to him on draft day.
Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians has been optimistic about Ellington virtually all offseason, suggesting the team wants to build their offense around him and more recently projecting Ellington for 25-30 touches per game. The latter statement is clear hyperbole, but Ellington’s playing time and touches will rise this year.
Ellington is an asset in the passing game, and with a primary role in a pass-oriented offense 50-plus catches is a definite possibility this year.
Ellington never had more than 15 carries or 17 touches in a game last season, and his build (5’10″, 199 lbs.) suggests he is not an every-down back. Arians confirmed that in March, so the Cardinals are likely to use some combination of Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer in short-yardage and goal line situations.
Ellington missed a game late last season with a knee injury, and he missed the end of a game after that with a thigh bruise. Durability concerns dating back to his college career at Clemson may keep him from topping 20 touches in a game on a regular basis.
Ellington had 157 touches and over 1,000 offensive yards last season, so it’s easy to project close to 200 touches and 1,500 combined yards in 2014 with a bigger role in store from the start this season. He had 29 rushing touchdowns over his final three seasons at Clemson, so Ellington could be a productive touchdown scorer if given the opportunity this year. I like Ellington best in PPR leagues as a RB2, and his yardage potential makes him a viable low-end RB2 or high-end RB3 in standard leagues.
Bye Week : Week 4
Projected Round: Fourth or Fifth (12-Team Leagues)
Auction Value: $16 (ESPN.com)