Is Alvin Kamara Worth the Top Pick in Fantasy Football Drafts?

Sep 01, 2019 11:29 AM EDT

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alvin Kamara.

  • Alvin Kamara is expected to be the lead back and an even more dangerous weapon in the New Orleans Saints' offense.
  • Ian Hartitz discusses how high he should be taken in upcoming fantasy football drafts.

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2019 season; this is part of that series.

The Saints haven’t ranked outside of the league’s top-12 scoring offenses or top-eight units in terms of total yardage since Sean Payton and Drew Brees came to town prior to the 2006 regular season.

The current edition of the Saints offense is as devastating as ever with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game still running the show. Brees is expected to again funnel most of the offenses production through stud receiver Michael Thomas as well as three-down talent Alvin Kamara.

The following breakdown will focus on both Kamara’s fantasy football value as well as his ability to ball out as a rusher and receiver inside of the Saints’ ever-efficient offense.

All Alvin Kamara Does Is Rack up Yards

There might not be another running back in the NFL who is more smooth than Kamara. Defenders seem to just slide off the Saints’ 5-foot-10 and 214-pound talent, as Kamara’s average of 5.1 yards per carry is the highest mark among 26 running backs with at least 300 carries over the past two seasons.

It’s tough to watch a Saints game for long before inevitably spotting Kamara gliding through multiple defenders on his way to the end zone.

Overall, Kamara’s single season average of 3.83 yards after contact per touch in 2017 trailed only Adrian Peterson (2012), Derrick Henry (2018), Kenyan Drake (2017) and Nick Chubb (2018) among all running backs since 2010 (Pro Football Focus, minimum 100 carries).

The two-time Pro Bowl running back is even tougher to corral as a receiver. Kamara is pretty much impossible for any linebacker to handle in open space.

Kamara has posted 81-826-5 and 81-709-4 receiving lines over the past two seasons. Only Marques Colston (168), JuJu Smith-Schuster (169), Christian McCaffrey (187), Odell Beckham Jr. (187), Jarvis Landry (194) and Michael Thomas (196) have racked up more receptions than Kamara (162) during the first two seasons of a career in the history of the NFL.

Of course, football is a team sport. Brees and Payton have consistently engineered one of the league’s highest-scoring and most efficient offenses, and the 2018 edition of the offensive line was one of the better run-blocking units in recent memory.

Overall, the Saints’ average of 5.19 adjusted line yards per rush in 2018 trails only the 2018 Rams (5.49) since Football Outsiders began tracking the metric in 1996.

Kamara is undoubtedly one of the more talented backs in the league. Still, there’s a pretty good chance fans won’t see him on the field for an alarmingly-high number of snaps in 2019.

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