Mark Ingram’s third NFL season was not the charm, as he set career-lows in carries (78) and rushing yards (386) with just one touchdown last season in 11 games played. The Saints’ backfield remains deep even with the offseason trade of Darren Sproles, so Ingram may again struggle to find a consistent role in what is a contract year for him with the team’s decision to decline his option for 2015.
Ingram averaged a career-high 4.9 yards per carry last season, and he had 28 carries for 146 yards (5.2 yards per carry) in New Orleans’ two playoff games when he was presumably fully healthy.
Ingram has been productive when given enough carries to stand out, so more consistent opportunity could be all he needs to have a breakout season. With Sproles gone, the Saints may run the ball more this year.
Ingram only has 24 career receptions, so his role in a pass-oriented Saints’ offense may not expand much even with Sproles elsewhere. Over the last two seasons Ingram has 33 red zone carries (21 in 2012), but he he has only scored a touchdown on five of them. If he gives up even more goal line work to some combination of Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson and Travis Cadet this year, Ingram’s ability to do anything notable for fantasy owners would be diminished even further.
Ingram has missed 11 games in three seasons, and his history of knee and toe issues is a major red flag that may prevent him from ever being a quintessential workhorse.
In a best case scenario Ingram will be No. 2 in the running back pecking order for the Saints this year, behind Thomas and his far superior all-around skill set. But Robinson is in the mix as well, and the likelihood he takes some of Ingram’s workload stands to render the former Heisman Trophy winner useless to fantasy owners until an injury or two changes the situation.
Bye Week: Week 6
Projected Round: 14th Round
Auction Value: $2
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.