After waiting four weeks for the return of New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram, he hit the ground running in his 2018 debut. Following a four-game suspension, Ingram paid off the patience of fantasy football owners by scoring two touchdowns. Unfortunately, since that point, he’s cooled off a bit and hasn’t found the end zone in either of the past two games.
The good news is, Ingram is trending in the right direction as he averaged 4.8 yards per carry against a strong Minnesota Vikings defense last week. With a Week 9 matchup against the undefeated Los Angeles Rams on tap, it makes for an interesting situation from a fantasy perspective. The Saints are at home in this game, and we know their fanbase can make an impact in big games.
Let’s take a look at whether Ingram is a fantasy football start or sit in this matchup, as the Saints look to hand the Rams their first loss of the year.
Should You Start or Sit Mark Ingram?
There was some concern early that Ingram could wind up losing work to Alvin Kamara after his play during the suspension. But as Football Outsiders shows, the playing time hasn’t brutally favored either side in the first three games with the duo on the field together. In Week 5, Ingram out-snapped Kamara 36-31, while Week 7 (39-35) and Week 8 (38-23) both favored the second-year back.
Although much of it comes down to game flow, the Saints have made it known they plan to get both of their talented backs involved. While Ingram was out-snapped by Kamara in the last two games, he still received 14 and 16 touches (compared to 18 in the first game). There’s no question Ingram will continue seeing touches, so it comes down to the matchup this week.
On the surface, the Rams are no walk in the park for opposing running backs, but one thing that jumps out is how they’ve fared on the ground vs. through the air. The Rams have allowed 726 rushing yards on 153 carries (4.7 yards per carry) with five touchdowns. But through the air, have allowed 49 receptions for just 249 yards and no touchdowns.
This is a matchup where the Saints’ opponent seemingly fares better against pass-catching backs than the ground game. In turn, Week 9 has “Mark Ingram game” written all over it. I’m confident using him in all 12-team leagues or above and think he’s at least worth considering as a flex play in 10-team leagues.