A season recap of fantasy football running backs in 2013 on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio earlier this week with Kyle Elfrink and Ray Flowers got me thinking more about Andre Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona had an incredible season and just missed out on a postseason showing thanks to a very strong NFC. That might be a good thing for fantasy drafters looking for an RB name that's undervalued a bit heading into 2014 draft seasons.
Code Red: Draft Ellington
Ellington was slow to adapt in his rookie season and had Rashard Mendenhall ahead of him on the depth chart, but if you look at his overall performance, it wasn't too shabby - 118 carries, 652 yards and three TDs. He also had 39 catches for 371 yards and a TD. He missed one game with a knee sprain.
His best performance came against the Atlanta Falcons; he ran for 154 yards on 15 totes, including a score.
Arizona has depth at the position with Mendy, Alfonso Smith, Stepfan Taylor and Ryan Williams, but Ellington easily is the most talented and dynamic runner. Mendenhall looked fresher down the stretch as he finally got healthy, but he's teetering on the injury-prone label and isn't reliable.
Ellington knows it and the Cardinals know it: they plan to utilize him much more in 2014. Mendenhall will still be the No. 1, but if you do own Mendy, Ellington will be a must to handcuff to him. For fantasy purposes, Ellington will be much more valuable, especially in point-per-reception universes.
So if you're looking for a difference maker in your drafts this fall, make sure to jot Ellington's name down on your watch list. Think Giovani Bernard or Shane Vereen. That's how much of an impact he can have for you in 2014, even if he plays in the toughest division in football.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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