Mark Ingram Finds Perfect Fantasy Football Fit with Ravens

Mar 13, 2019 1:42 PM EDT
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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Ingram

  • Ian Hartitz breaks down what Mark Ingram signing means for the running back's fantasy football outlook, the Ravens and the Saints.

The Ravens helped out Lamar Jackson in a big way on Wednesday, signing former Saints running back Mark Ingram to a multi-year deal. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the three-year contract is worth $15 million.

Ingram has worked as one of the league’s most efficient and consistent backs for the better part of the past eight years with the Saints.

Let’s break down the on-field and fantasy football impacts of this blockbuster deal for both teams.

What This Signing Means for the Ravens

It’d be shocking if Ingram doesn’t open the season as Baltimore’s starting running back considering their level of investments in their current backfield.

  • Ingram: Three-year deal worth $15 million.
  • Kenneth Dixon: Unrestricted free agent in 2020.
  • Gus Edwards: Second-round tendered restricted free agent in 2019.

This isn’t to say Dixon or Edwards are bad running backs. Dixon averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season and has demonstrated some receiving ability while Edwards averaged a more than respectable 5.2 yards per carry and posted the league’s best success rate among all backs.

Still, Ingram has established himself as one of the NFL’s most efficient backs over the past half decade. His average of 4.85 yards per rush trails only former teammate Alvin Kamara (5.13) among 47 backs with at least 300 rush attempts between 2015 and 2018.

Yes, Ingram is 29 years old, but he’s never had more than 230 carries in a season. This makes him somewhat young in running back years. For example, Ingram has roughly only one season’s worth of carries (279) more than Todd Gurley despite Ingram entering entering the league in 2011 and Gurley entering in 2015.

Ingram’s downhill style fits the Ravens’ run-first offense perfectly. He’s consistently ranked near the top of the NFL in success rate, which represents a player’s consistency and is measured by successful running plays divided by total running plays (via Football Outsiders).

Jackson will also benefit from having the most capable receiving back of his career. Ingram has caught 50 passes twice since 2015 and is plenty capable of turning check downs or screens into big plays.

This could potentially be the biggest workload of Ingram’s career if the Ravens’ stretch run with Jackson under center was any indication of their future plans.

The Ravens (316 rush attempts) joined the Seahawks (246), Bears (215), Jaguars (203) and Patriots (201) as the only offenses with 200-plus rush attempts between Weeks 11 and 17 of 2018. Jackson finished with the sixth-most rush attempts among all players over that stretch while Edwards finished fourth.

Ingram has the chance to be a season-long RB1 thanks to his potential for a massive workload combined with the proven fantasy-friendly reality of working as the Ravens’ featured running back.

What This Signing Means for the Saints

The Saints are moving on from Ingram with Latavius Murray, who has racked up an impressive 34 touchdowns since entering the league in 2014 — tied for the fourth-most scores on the ground in the league over that span.

Still, Murray is fully expected to work behind incumbent starter Alvin Kamara, who demanded one of the league’s largest workloads in 2018 during Ingram’s four-game suspension to start the season.

Murray offers huge handcuff upside in the event of a Kamara suspension or injury. He could also be a useful flex option if Sean Payton and Co. decide to continue to roll with multiple backs — although Murray’s limited ability as a receiver will likely keep him from ever inheriting a true three-down role in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, Kamara is locked in as a top-five fantasy back with real RB1 potential considering the respective injury and offensive ceiling questions surrounding Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell.

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