Mark Ingram Suspended: Fantasy Football Impact & Where To Draft Alvin Kamara
Mark Ingram Fantasy Football Update
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New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has been suspended for four games due to performance-enhancing drugs and the team isn’t expected to sign a fill-in to add depth to the position. What the Saints have is what they have at this point.
So, how does this impact the fantasy football world?
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First, it bumps Alvin Kamara to a sure first round pick and a top-five running back on all boards. Kamara was already a high fantasy option after his rookie season in which he averaged 6.1 yards per carry, caught 81 passes for over 800 yards and scored 13 total offensive touchdowns. Only Los Angeles Rams Todd Gurley had more rushing/receiving touchdowns (19) last season.
Kamara is extremely valuable in PPR leagues and is a big play waiting to happen, but Ingram’s suspension guarantees he’ll be an even bigger factor in the running game. Last season, Kamara had just 120 carries, which was only 27 percent of the Saints 444 rushing attempts. Ingram stole a lot of those touches with 230 carries because he’s the bigger, more durable back. Well, he’s not around for the first month of the season. Newly acquired Jonathan Williams and maybe somebody else will get carries here and there, but you’re going to see a more consistent usage in the star running back out of the backfield.
You factor in Kamara’s numbers in the receiving game and add 200-plus carries, and you have yourself a running back who can go toe-to-toe with any in the league fantasy wise. Kamara should be picked in the first round in all leagues.
As far as Ingram, it moves him to a middle round selection, likely starting in the seventh or eighth round range. Ingram has been highly productive recently, as he’s averaging 1,084 rushing yards and nine touchdowns the last two seasons. Ingram has also caught no less than 46 passes each of the last three years, so he’s a balanced back who produces quality as a second string option on your team. However, Ingram will miss over 30 percent of your season if your playoffs begin week 13. You also have to question just how effective Ingram will be when he returns, as rust is sure to be there missing a month, and three of his first four games back include the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams, heavy defensive line teams that rely on stopping the run.
I can no longer draft Ingram as a quality second string running back with confidence. Instead, he’s drafted as a bench player in the mid-late rounds due to not being around. I need stability in my drafts and guys I can count on week in and week out. I try to take as few risks as possible in my draft, as one bad selection could cripple your chances to win the money.
Select Kamara early, but wait as long as possible before selecting Ingram. Make sure both running back slots are filled before even thinking about taking the Saints new backup.