Returning from a plethora of injuries that required a hernia surgery during the offseason, Cardinals 3rd year running back, Andre Ellington, will try to prove his potential as the game’s next great dual-threat weapon. The 26-year-old registered an impressive 46 receptions for nearly 400 yards receiving in twelve games last season.
However, fantasy owners should be wary of the running back situation in Arizona, which could prove to be a battle between Ellington and rookie David Johnson out of Northern Iowa, who boasted explosive speed and strength with his 6’1, 225 pound frame. Johnson is a viable threat to steal not only red zone touches, but could severely eat into Ellington’s playing time. In dealing with his injury issues, Ellington’s yards-per-carry and yards-per-reception fell drastically during the 2014 season—most notably, his YPC plummeted from 5.5 to 3.3.
Fantasy owners can hope that the RB situation in Arizona will mirror that of the Cincinnati Bengals, whose run game was bolstered by the one-two punch of Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, both solid options that rewarded fantasy owners last year. However, Ellington is on the wrong side on such a projection; David Johnson, in every capacity, has the potential to be a solid number one for the Cardinals during the upcoming season.
It’s likely that Ellington and Johnson will share the workload for the first few games of the season. However, with his health problems and relatively small size, the odds are against Ellington to solidify his position as the starting back. Ellington is likely to become more of a change-of-pace back, severely limiting any long-term fantasy appeal.