Andre Ellington's Versatility Makes Him Valuable to Fantasy Football Owners

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Running back Andre Ellington #38 of the Arizona Cardinals carries the ball against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals rookie Andre Ellington's versatility will make him a dynamic playmaker in the desert, so fantasy football owners should look to add the running back to their team.

The rookie didn't see much action in the opener, but he made quite an impact in Week 2. 

Ellington had only one catch for 13 yards in the opener, but he has 20 rushing yards on four carries, three receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown overall this season. 

Rashard Mendenhall was brought in to stabilize the running game this offseason, but he may not be the main back for much longer. Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals' official website suggests that coach Bruce Arians sees Ellington as an impact player.

Although he dropped to the sixth round, Ellington has made quite the impression on the coaches and fans.

The 24-year-old has good speed and can hit holes with ease. Once he gets in the open field, he is able to make quick cuts and still stay on his feet. The running back has a strong stiff arm that helps him overcome a small frame. The 5'9" back weighs 199 pounds, so he isn't built to pound the ball.

However, his skills work perfectly in Arizona's offense.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has a big arm that can hit his receivers down the field. Arians likes to be aggressive through the air, so Palmer's arm will allow him to stretch the field. Larry Fitzgerald remains an elite receiver, and Michael Floyd will have a strong second season.

With the passing attack stepping up, Ellington will be able to put up good numbers as a rookie.

The running back can play every down, whether it's to run the ball or catch passes. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he has the ability to accelerate quickly and beat defenders.

Palmer has a strong arm, but he will give Ellington some looks out of the backfield. The rookie can help his quarterback by running swing routes and screens to pick up yards.

Ellington ran for at least 1,000 yards in his final two seasons at Clemson. He never averaged fewer than five yards per carry, and he averaged 8.5 yards per reception in his career. The dual-threat back can change a game in different ways.

Now that he has impressed his coaches, Ellington should be more involved in the team's offense. That showed last week when he had six touches compared to only one in his debut.

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Running back Andre Ellington #38 of the Arizona Cardinals scores a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The rookie will move the ball and pick up yards in bunches. However, finding the end zone will be something that he will have to work on. His size won't allow him to pound the ball in near the goal line, and Mendenhall could receive the majority of the carries in those situations. His ability to make defenders miss, on the other hand, will give him his fair share of big plays.

Ellington is an explosive playmaker. His versatility will allow him to succeed in Arizona's offense, and Palmer will take advantage of having a back who can pick up key yards.

The multi-purpose back can help a fantasy team in many ways. He can pick up yards on the ground and on passes out of the backfield. His elusiveness will overcome his small size and allow him find the end zone.

It may take a few weeks for Ellington to put up big numbers, but fantasy owners should take a chance on the rookie running back.


*All information is courtesy of