by Inside the Redzone staff – Bill Seng
From all accounts, Mark Ingram is capable of being the lead back of the New Orleans Saints. What does that mean? Should mean major production in fantasy football, thinking RB3 with upside given his current ADP. A few years ago, an undrafted rookie named Pierre Thomas, came late into the year and put up impressive numbers down the stretch and into the playoffs for fantasy owners. Last year, it was 6th round pick, Chris Ivory who was flashing highlights from the New Orleans Saints backfield. Ingram has better pedigree and stock. He’s a stout, no-nonsense runner, with receiving skills. Sean Peyton loves that skill set. Meanwhile, Pierre Thomas has been in and out of Peyton’s doghouse and Ivory is trying to come back from hernia surgery. Not a good injury to come back from if you’re a running back.
Daniel Thomas is a rookie power back walking into a situation where the Dolphins ran 445 times the year before. So the opportunity is there. Their is a brand new offense in play. Offensive Coordinator, Brian Daboll, was atClevelandworking for Eric Mangini the year before, helping mold another power running back, Peyton Hillis. With Chad Henne under fire to make big plays and connect with star receiver, Brandon Marshall, Daboll might cool down the expectations by working in an effective running game. As the preseason has gone on, there is something familiar of Thomas’s play. He’s a big man, that so far in his young career, has not hit the hole fast and hard enough. Smells like another rookie year that didn’t end well, Rashard Mendenhall. Or to some extent Brandon Jacobs his last few years. Still, Thomas’s primary competition, Reggie Bush, has never rushed more than 157 attempts in a single season. That is close to 300 available carries if Bush’s durability track record stays to form, which means Thomas will get the time and chances to iron out any kinks.
So who should a fantasy football owner go for if they had to choose between the rookie RBs? I would bypass the opportunity upside with Thomas and pick the surest thing, Mark Ingram. For immediate playing time, he won’t get much battle from Ivory, who was looked as a last resort last year. Ingram, also got a ringing endorsement from friend of all NFL coaches, Nick Saban. When it comes down to it, I do believe in Ingram’s no-nonsense straight ahead approach. With Colston ready for another slow start (another off-season knee surgery), I see Ingram cleaning house for the Saints backfield.
Click here to see who our other staff writers would pick in a fantasy football draft.