NFL Conference Championship Fantasy RB Breakdown: Alvin Kamara Has Upside vs. Rams
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41).
We are just two games away from the Super Bowl, and this weekend the four best teams in football will compete to see who will advance to the big game. Although the slate consists of only two contests, they both seem likely to excite. The Saints-Rams game kicks off on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET; Chiefs-Patriots, 6:40 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at the running back who stands out the most in the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
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Alvin Kamara: New Orleans Saints (-3.0) vs. Los Angeles Rams, 56.5 Over/Under
- DraftKings: $6,500
- FanDuel: $8,100
UPDATE (Jan. 20): Wide receiver Keith Kirkwood (calf) and tight end Ben Watson (illness) are out.
Kamara is so good that his 20-touch, 105-yard performance last week was disappointing. For most backs, that would be a top-quartile game.
But Kamara isn’t most backs. Only Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk has more seasons in NFL history with 700 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving, and Kamara is in only his second year. Since entering the league, Kamara has been a top-five fantasy back with 21.6 DraftKings points per game with an average of 99.7 yards and 0.97 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Nevertheless, Kamara is not without his concerns.
Last year, after Adrian Peterson was traded to the Cardinals in Week 6, Kamara played 14 games with Ingram (including the playoffs). For the first four games of this season, Kamara had the backfield to himself, and then Ingram (suspension) returned in Week 5 to split the backfield once again.
Kamara’s various opportunity and production splits are telling:
- With Ingram (2017, Weeks 6-19, 14 games): 21.7 DraftKings points, 9.0 carries, 5.9 targets, 4.7 receptions, 104.4 yards and 0.93 touchdowns from scrimmage
- Without Ingram (2018, Weeks 1-4, four games): 36.3 DraftKings points, 14.0 carries, 11.8 targets, 8.8 receptions, 152.8 yards and 1.5 touchdowns from scrimmage
- With Ingram (2018, Weeks 5-19, 12 games): 19.4 DraftKings points, 12.8 carries, 5.2 targets, 4.2 receptions, 90.6 yards and 1.0 touchdowns from scrimmage
Without Ingram, Kamara was one of the most productive backs in the league in the first month of the season. With Ingram, Kamara is still great, but in a committee he has a capped upside, and it would be unreasonable to expect him to perform as he did earlier in the year, especially since Kamara’s 2018 fantasy production with Ingram is similar to his 2017 production.
But even in a committee, Kamara has the capacity to go off in any given week, and he leads all backs in our Models with his median, ceiling and floor projections: He’s still the most dynamic playmaker on the No. 1 team in The Action Network Power Rankings.
Plus, although Kamara and Ingram have had a relatively even split during the season, the Saints have emphasized Kamara in their three postseason games.
Conference Championship Positional Breakdowns
Be sure to read the other divisional round positional breakdowns.
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