Despite being a first-round draft pick way back in the 2011 NFL Draft, Mark Ingram has been pedestrian in his first two seasons with the New Orleans Saints. In fact, the downhill runner has failed to emerge as the starting guy the Saints pegged him to be and now must split the load with Pierre Thomas and passing-down back Darren Sproles.
However, fantasy football owners who drafted Ingram this season are in luck as the reports coming out of New Orleans are that the ex-Heisman Trophy winner is looking more impressive than ever. To be fair, No. 28 has battled injuries since getting drafted into the league and the 2013 offseason was the first of his career that didn’t involve some sort of surgery.
Hence, Saints fans and optimistic fantasy owners are listening to Ingram when he says “I have finally had a healthy offseason” and believe that he can turn his otherwise ordinary career into something positive. Not to mention, Saints head coach Sean Payton was able to watch New Orleans from afar last year and will likely come back to the sidelines with more of a balanced offensive game plan. If the pass-heavy Saints’ offense that we’ve seen in the past evolves into more of a 50-50 scheme, than Ingram will have a career year.
At the end of the day, Ingram’s biggest enemy is still the injury bug, but you can’t act like the Thomas and Sproles are just going to take the season off. Both of the smaller backs have given the Saints timely production in the past, while Ingram’s “touchdown-machine” label has all but faded.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Ingram and expect a big year, yet we can’t leave a couple of aging backups to the wolves just yet.