Mendenhall's retirement is a boost for Ellington

Rashard Mendenhall wants the fans to know that he loves playing professional football, but at the age of 26 he's had enough. The talented running back has decided to retire for a number of reasons, all of which you can find in what is an interesting article posted Sunday in The Huffington Post.

One of the reasons he gave, believe it or not, was the popularity and overall influx of fantasy football.

Mendenhall expressed disappointment in how games are analyzed for the fans, how "practice non-participants are reported throughout the week for predicted fantasy value; and success and failure for skill players is measured solely in stats and fantasy points."

As someone who has waved the fantasy flag for more than 15 years, I would argue that fantasy football helped to make Mendenhall a bigger name -- he finished eighth in fantasy points among running backs in 2010 -- but I respect his opinion, his words and wish him the best in the future.

Now back to the aforementioned fantasy value that now exists as a result of Mendenhall's absence.

Of course, this news makes Andre Ellington an even bigger sleeper in fantasy land. A member of my fantasy man crush list for 2014, Ellington's going to see a major increase in work for the Cardinals next season. In fact, coach Bruce Arians said the team wants "to build our offense around" Ellington. That right there is enough to get excited about his prospects for the future.

Despite playing in a limited role behind Mendenhall, the Clemson product averaged more than 5.5 yards per carry and caught 39 passes as a rookie. While he doesn't have great size at 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds, Ellington can play big in the stat sheets and possesses RB2 potential across the board. While I do expect him to share some work with fellow second-year runner Stepfan Taylor, Ellington is the Cardinals back to target in 2014 drafts.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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