Andre Ellington. He's a prime example of making the numbers support whatever argument you'd like to make. Personally I believe the guy can be a value in fantasy football for 2014, but it all depends on where he goes.
Fantasy football pros across the industry having been talking him up since the 2014 season started, and Bruce Arians (head coach of the Cardinals) have both contributed to him flying up fantasy draft boards.
Andre Ellington is being drafted, according to fantasyfootballcalculator, at the average draft position of Round 4 Pick 2. I love the value this guy can provide, but if he creeps up much higher I fear you'll hit the ceiling of his upside.
Lets evaluate the upsides and the downsides to drafting Andre Ellington. We'll see why you should or shouldn't own this guy in 2014.
Why You Should Own Andre Ellington in Fantasy Football for 2014
Andre Ellington ran for 625 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2013. To many they're unimpressive totals, however they are indicators of great things to come.
Ellington led all rookie running backs in 2013 in yards per carry (5.5) and yards per reception (9.5). Although he had less chances to touch the ball than other rookies, which may cause his averages to appear higher, his totals indicate that he was a playmaker when he touches the ball. As a fantasy football owner, you have to love the opportunity that this guy presents.
Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians, has been high on Ellington all of 2014 and has even gone as far as saying that he wants to build the teams offense around him. He recently projected that Ellington would get 25-30 touches a game. (thats a lot of touches).
He is also a great pass catching back in a pass-oriented offense. There's a real chance that he could see 40 or more balls thrown his way in 2014. Although not an added bonus in standard leagues, it could be a nice bonus in PPR play.
Did I mention the Mendenhall is no longer there? I was never a fan of Mendy, but he cut into the production of Ellington. This should allow for an increase in carries.
Why You Shouldn't Own Andre Ellington in Fantasy Football for 2014
Despite what Bruce Arians says, neither I nor many fantasy analysts expect Andre Ellington to get 25-30 touches a game. It's simply crazy to expect as a fantasy owner. I mean the team is going to be pass oriented and Ellington has never had more than 17 touches in a game.
You could also look at this body size (5ft.10in. and ~205lbs) and argue that he's not an every down type of back. I'll buy that argument as a fantasy owner. In fact, Bruce Arians said in March that the Cardinals are likely going to use a combo of Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer in goal-line situations. Obviously a knock on Ellington's potential fantasy value for 2014.
Injuries have also been somewhat of a concern for Ellington throughout his college and professional career. He missed one game in 2013 with a knee injury and missed part of a game late in the season due to a thigh bruise. While he was at Clemson injury concerns kept him from consistently getting 20 touches per game.
Although he hasn't missed significant time to injury yet, it's something to be aware of if you are going to draft Ellington in 2014.
Defining the Value of Andre Ellington For Fantasy in 2014
I think the value of Ellington falls into two categories: PPR and Standard.
For standard leagues I think Ellington can be a low-end #2 RB or a high-end #3 RB. He'll get more touches being the starter and should see some more passes in this pass-oriented offense.
Where those passes truly show value is in PPR leagues. I think he'll be a solid #2 RB in PPR based on increased touches and increased receptions in that offense.
In 2013 Ellington had more than 1,000 yards with 157 touches. Projecting that out to 2014 means he could come out with 210 touches or so and 1,600 total yards. He also had 29 rushing touchdowns during his last 3 years at Clemson. Although the other backs may steal some goal-line carries, Ellington should be able to score a fair amount of times.
That's why I always recommend creating your own fantasy football rankings to use on draft day. It'll keep you grounded and from reaching on a guy you truly don't love as much as you believe.
With Ellington currently being drafted in the early 4th round I'd be weary about my decision to draft him. There's good upside but a nice combo of risk as well. I think if he climbs any higher up draft boards I'll pass on Ellington. In round 4 I'd probably take the chance on the upside.See Our Fantasy Player Profiles
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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