The New Orleans Saints snuck into the 2014 playoffs as the No. 6 seed. They took out the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round, but lost to the Seattle Seahawks the following week. Entering the offseason, the Saints had a lot of decisions to make, despite being a constant Super Bowl contender.
During the offseason, the Saints made a lot of cuts, including wide receiver Lance Moore and a few key defensive players. To everyone’s surprise, the Saints released Darren Sproles on March 7. There are now rumors that Pierre Thomas may be next on the chopping block. Sproles signed in 2011 after spending five years with the San Diego Chargers. Thomas went undrafted in 2007, but the Saints were smart enough to sign him.
If Thomas is cut, Mark Ingram becomes the automatic starter. The Saints drafted Ingram out of Alabama in the first round of the 2011 season. Since his rookie season, Ingram has started just 11 games. The 2012 season was Ingram’s best as he finished with 156 carries for 602 yards and five touchdowns.
Ingram has shown hints of being able to carry the load as a full-time running back, despite not starting more than five games in a single season. However, he may not have to be an every-down back with Khiry Robinson also on the roster. Both running backs are great pass-protects and pass-catchers.
If the 2014 fantasy football season started today, Ingram would rank as a top-30 running back. He hasn’t shown that he would be able to stay healthy all season as the No. 1 guy. On the flip side, the ability to rush and catch passes like Sproles and Thomas before him, Ingram will have twice the value for the fantasy owners who draft him.