If the fantasy football owners who are already familiar will be patient for a moment, here are a few words on Andre Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals for fans who might not know.
Ellington is a second-year back who shows great speed and ability to make tacklers miss. Buried on the depth chart behind what was left of Rashard Mendenhall in 2013, Ellington showed flashes of brilliance and is now in line for the starting running back gig for the Cardinals. Because of his diminished size, however, Ellington provides the latest excuse to dig up the old durability question for small running backs.
The concern about Ellington holding up over the course of a long season might spur head coach Bruce Arians to use him creatively. Predictably, the goal will be to get Ellington the ball “in space,” where he will have a chance to stare down linebackers and defensive backs instead of big lineman.
In order to get the ball to Ellington in those spots, Arians might consider using him as a receiver in some sets. It’s at this point that fantasy owners will rejoin the conversation. From Kent Somers of azcentral.com:
“Andre could start on our team as wide receiver,” Arians said, “so you want to be able to use that skill and still have another back in the game who can do everything else. It’s fun creating things with a player like him.”
As for the possibility of Ellington taking snaps out wide, it very well might be in the works, an idea that the Clemson product very much enjoys:
In the spring and summer, Ellington learned all three receiving positions. It was the first time in his football career that he lined up at an offensive position other than running back. He hopes it was more than Arians just experimenting.
“Hopefully, I get a lot of opportunities to play those spots during the season,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve been split out wide. I like it. I love it. As long as I get the ball in my hands, I’ll be fine. I enjoy it.”
Even with Carson Palmer dragging them down, this Cardinals’ offense stands to be quite effective in 2014. How they use Ellington will be a significant factor in that potential success.