Andre Ellington is still Cardinals’ lead back

Dan Schneier recaps the best fantasy football nuggets from Mike Clay's interview with Arizona Cardinals beat reporter Darren Urban.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Andre Ellington is still Cardinals’ lead back

On Friday, Darren Urban of stopped by the Pro Football Focus show on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). Urban talked about Andre Ellington’s share in the backfield, if any Cardinals wide receiver will emerge, and more. You can find Urban on Twitter @CardsChatter,

No Backfield Timeshare

After the Cardinals signed Chris Johnson earlier this week, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians left the door open for Johnson to assume a large role in the offense. Rookie running back David Johnson has also returned to practice this week. Are we looking at a timeshare in Arizona?

“I’m expecting to still see Andre Ellington as the main back. They’re going to mix everyone in, but he’s going to get the majority of the touches. I think David Johnson has shown a lot as a receiver, and I’m interested to see what role they’re going to use him in. I don’t think Chris Johnson has a guaranteed roster spot.”

Urban’s lack of confidence in Chris Johnson is telling. The veteran has struggled in recent seasons, and there’s no reason to believe he can realistically eat into Ellington’s role. Keep an eye on the rookie David Johnson, but Ellington should lead the backfield in touches if he can finally avoid the injury bug.

Bounce Back Season For Ellington?

“I do think the injury was the big problem last year. He had a foot injury before he stepped on the field. He could barely practice most of the year. He got a little gun shy in terms of wanting to make sure he stayed healthy. It sapped explosion. But you can still see how explosive he is when he’s healthy. You saw it in the first preseason game too. But again, he has to show that he can stay healthy.”

Health is key for Ellington. In 2013, Ellington finished with the second-most Yco/Att (3.15) in the NFL. He is elusive, explosive and he is better after contact than given credit for. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Ellington’s injury history dates back to his days at Clemson.

Balanced Passing Game

The Cardinals passing offense should take a big step forward in 2015 if Carson Palmer can stay healthy. When Michael Floyd returns to action, the Cardinals will have three talent wide receivers, but will any of the three separate from the pack?

“The way this offense is set up, I don’t know if anybody is going to have gigantic stats,” Urban said. “At this point, if anyone is going to do that it will be John Brown. He would be a guy that I would note, but again, the way this offense is, it’s a lot of throwing to whoever is open and matchups. Fantasy wise, it’s tough to put your finger on one guy, because that’s not how it’s played out in Bruce Arians’ offense.”

Let’s take a look at some 2014 numbers. Targets: Larry Fitzgerald (100), John Brown (95), Michael Floyd (94). Snaps in route: Larry Fitzgerald (506), John Brown (459), Michael Floyd (585). Although Brown receive the most targets per snaps in route, all three wide receivers were involved almost equally in the passing game. Brown is a trendy breakout pick in 2015, but it’s important that you don’t overspend on his somewhat limited ceiling.

When Will Michael Floyd Return To Action?

“He looks great but we’re talking about a hand for a wide receiver. He had stitches out the other day. If I had to guess, I would feel optimistic about him being back for the opener.”

Deep Dynasty Stash

Will a tight end finally emerge as a pass catching threat in a Bruce Arians offense?

“Gresham is somebody to watch but he hasn’t been on the field a ton. Darren Fells is going to be the main tight end but they’re not going to throw to him that much. Tight end has never been a major target in this offense. But keep an eye on Ifeanyi Momah. He ussed to be a receiver in Philadelphia, now he’s playing tight end for Cardinals. He’s done well throughout the entire offseason, and I think he’s going to make this team and be a receiving option.”

How about that for a deep stash? The Cardinals grabbed Momah after the first ever Veteran Combine earlier this offseason. After playing wide receiver with the Eagles, he bulked up to 248 pounds at 6-foot-7.

Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and he covers the NFC East beat for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.

Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

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