Ellington is one of five running backs currently remaining on the Buccaneers' roster following last Friday's release of Shaun Wilson, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. The veteran reunited with former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians back on Feb. 19, when he inked a free-agent deal with the Buccaneers after spending 2018 out of the NFL. Ellington, a 2013 sixth-round pick, beat the odds over his first two seasons in Arizona, rushing for 1,312 yards, adding another 766 through the air, and scoring nine total touchdowns (six rushing, three receiving). However, after a pair of forgettable campaigns in 2016 and 2017, Ellington finds himself trying to resurrect his career under the man who originally brought him into the league. The 30-year-old back is hoping to hold off Dare Ogunbowale and undrafted rookie Bruce Anderson, both of whom also have special teams experience, for a backup job behind the top duo of Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II.
Ellington signed a contract with the Buccaneers on Tuesday. Ellington spent 2018 out of football, unable to latch on with a team after splitting the previous campaign between Arizona and Houston. A reunion with coach Bruce Arians makes sense for all parties, with the 30-year-old running back hoping to rediscover some of his magic from an impressive rookie season with the Cardinals back in 2013. Ellington will need to battle for a spot on the 53-man roster, hoping to secure a role on passing downs.
Ellington, an unrestricted free agent, believes he's currently in the best physical shape he's been in since his rookie year, David Shelton of The Charleston Post Courier reports. The 29-year-old has spent much of his career battling injuries, though he's still managed to play at least 10 games in each of his five NFL seasons. Likely just a pass-catching specialist at this point in his career, Ellington is hoping for a chance to compete for a roster spot. The free-agent market hasn't been friendly to passing-down backs, with Charles Sims settling for $200,000 guaranteed while Shane Vereen and Lance Dunbar also remain unsigned.
Ellington had two carries for five yards and six catches on nine targets for 72 yards in four games with the Texans. Ellington began the 2017 season as a pass-catching specialist for the Cardinals and had some productive games early. His name was mentioned as a possible fill-in when David Johnson suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 1. However, the Cardinals went to great lengths to avoid using Ellington in the RB rotation. The 28-year-old was eventually released and landed with the Texans for the final weeks of the season. There were opportunities for Ellington as a receiver in Houston due to injuries at wideout, and he played 47 snaps in his Week 13 debut. However, as the injury situation improved, Ellington was limited to just 22 snaps over the final four weeks. The Texans are already set at running back with Lamar Miller and D'Onta Foreman. If Alfred Blue returns to the fold, there will be little room for Ellington.
Ellington (knee) doesn't carry an injury designation into Sunday's game against the Jaguars after practicing fully Friday. The same applies to fellow running back Alfred Blue (concussion), so Ellington is in line to have have some company in the Texans' backfield mix behind starter Lamar Miller (knee). In that capacity, neither Ellington nor Blue represent high-percentage fantasy plays against the Jaguars defense that has allowed just six rushing scores through 13 games.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|3||09/22||New York Giants||23||19.88|
|4||09/29||@Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|5||10/06||@New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|11||11/17||New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||18||50||0||17||151||0||20|