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Assessing Andre Ellington's Fantasy Value After Dismal Week 7 Performance

Oct 6, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) runs with the ball during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Alex KayCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2013

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington slapped together a brutal performance against the Seattle Seahawks during Week 7’s Thursday Night Football matchup.

The rookie rusher disappointed optimistic fantasy owners by scoring just a single point (in standard ESPN leagues) while generating a total of 13 yards. He carried the rock just three times for three yards and hauled in two receptions for 10 yards.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) celebrates with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and running back Andre Ellington (38) after catching an eight yard touchdown during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Ellington’s lack of usage this past game was severely disappointing to say the least, as even the plodding Carson Palmer managed to do more on the ground by gaining five yards on his two scrambles.

It’s long been speculated that the 24-year-old would take over the lead back duties from Rashard Mendenhall at some point this season, but Week 7 clearly wasn’t the time—even though Mendenhall greatly struggled against the Seahawks’ vaunted rush defense.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers back found no space run and picked up just 22 yards on 13 carries, although he did manage to punch a score in at the goal line.

Mendenhall now has 92 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns on the season, significantly more compared to Ellington’s 28 rushes for 179 yards and a score.

The Clemson product is a bit more valuable in PPR formats, as he has recorded 20 receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown—as opposed to Mendenhall’s 10 catches for 66 yards.

Ellington did have a chance to make a spectacular, diving, one-handed grab in the end zone against Seattle, but wasn’t able to finish the play. He also could have taken a screen pass to the house early in the game, but got tripped up after just five yards.

Even if he had made those plays and saved his stat line, there’s plenty of reason to doubt his ability and usage rate in this Cardinals offense going forward.

Since his snap count will be limited—likely to a maximum of 35 or so in a given week—due to Mendenhall’s presence, there’s not going to be tons of opportunities for the youngster to generate an impressive stat line.

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (28) celebrates a three yard touchdown during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

He’s shown flashes—such as the two missed opportunities in Week 7—but has to consistently turn those limited chances into scores before he’s worthy of starting in all but the deepest leagues.

For now, Ellington could work as a desperate, bye week replacement and flex play in PPR formats.

He has some decent matchups against Atlanta, Houston and especially Jacksonville on the horizon over the next three weeks, so keep a close eye on the kid.

However, if you own him or are thinking about acquiring the Cardinals back, you should be looking for alternate options to start until he breaks out of the platoon and gets more touches.

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