However, there is one thing that could block Ingram’s path to redemption. Or, rather, one rookie running back Payton also has developed a love and trust in: Alvin Kamara.
Kamara finished out the game after Ingram fumbled twice in the fourth quarter. But the story said Payton knows he's going to need Ingram if the Saints are going to make a playoff run. However, one more thing the story pointed out was how Ingram's two fumbles in last year's loss to Kansas City opened the door for more work for Tim Hightower over the next few weeks before Ingram eventually re-established himself as the lead man.
Clearly the Saints decided that they didn’t have much use for RB Adrian Peterson since they preferred the more versatile duo of veteran Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and wanted to get both of them on the field as much as possible.
Sean Payton hinted recently that the Saints might not have signed Peterson if they had known they were going to draft Kamara in the third round -- or, at least, that the vision for Peterson wouldn’t have been the same.
As the story said, it's overstating things, but Kamara's bust-out game in Week 4 in London certainly helped things along. Ingram and Kamara will see more snaps as a result of Peterson leaving, but keep in mind Peterson wasn't getting a lot of time anyway.
Chris Johnson was subsequently released, so Peterson should slide right into the Arizona RB1 role and get the 10-15 carries that he's been asking for from the Saints. The Cardinals have really struggled to run the ball (2.6 YPC, 52 rushing yards per game, both lowest in the league), and there's no guarantee that Peterson will be able to turn that around since he has averaged just 2.4 YPC in his last 64 carries with the Vikings and Saints. He's not a pass-catcher, so Andre Ellington's fantasy value should remain unchanged. As for the Saints, the move creates more opportunity for Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, who should split Peterson's workload, such that it was.
Winning has helped wash the taste down a little. But it hasn't led to any more carries for Adrian Peterson, who admitted Sunday that it has been "rough" for him to handle his ever-shrinking role in the New Orleans Saints' backfield.
Peterson had only four carries for 4 yards in New Orleans' 20-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins in London.
"I haven't adjusted yet, but we're winning," said Peterson, who has only 81 yards on 27 carries through four games this year and two catches for 4 yards, without a touchdown.
With the Saints being a pass-heavy offense, it seems obvious they trust Ingram and Kamara to be on the field to keep defenses on their toes as far as what's coming next. The Fox broadcast mentioned several times the "man crush" HC Sean Payton has on Kamara, who caught 10 passes and also ran the ball five times.
Kamara actually led the Saints' backs with 31 snaps Monday since he lined up as a receiver several times. He caught four passes for 20 yards. Ingram, who is the Saints' most trusted pass protector, had 26 snaps and caught five passes for 54 yards. Kamara and Ingram were on the field together a handful of times.
Peterson only played nine snaps in his debut. He did lead the team with 18 yards rushing, if you consider that good news. The story said he'll continue to see work and even get some targets. However it looks like Kamara is going to be more involved in the running game than expected, according to the story. But, the Saints don't appear any better off at running the ball than they were last season.
The story said it's anyone's guess how the team will use Ingram and Peterson. For now, we think AP could have a Tim Hightower-like role from a year ago.
"There's some traits that Kamara has that remind me (of Faulk) in regards to his intelligence, his ability to run routes," Payton said. "It was real evident in the first half hour of how smart (Kamara) was. He was in with the quarterbacks, he understood schemes, he understood route reads, concepts. And even on the field, it was impressive. It would be something that would be difficult to know if you were just looking at a test."
Tavaris Cadet held down this role in recent seasons but was not nearly as fantasy relevant as when Darren Sproles held the role. Cadet only averaged 6.3 PPR fantasy points per game, playing 23 percent of snaps in 2016. However, that was due to Cadet's lack of involvement in the rushing game (four carries all season). Cadet's caught 40 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns. If Kamara can make an immediate impact in the Saints nickel offense, it could eat into Mark Ingram's receiving production, after catching 96 balls over the past two years. It wasn't so long ago that Sproles had three consecutive seasons with 70+ receptions in this role.
Mark Ingram undoubtedly elevated his game after being briefly demoted during the 2016 season after fumbling issues occurred. He ended the season with a combined 10 touchdowns.
Will Ingram replicate those numbers? It will be a challenge to say the least. And it's not because Ingram will regress, but more about the contenders the Saints brought in this offseason at running back.
Related players: Alvin Kamara
The Saints drafted Kamara to revive the Reggie Bush-Darren Sproles role as a versatile option in the run and pass game. The big question is how much will Peterson cut into Ingram's workload. The story said Peterson is replacing Hightower, but it could be hard for the team to keep a healthy Peterson off the field - which is potential bad news for Ingram's fantasy owners.
After a 1,485-yard season in 2015, Peterson gained just 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 YPC) in 2016 while his season was interrupted by meniscus surgery. He’s 32 years old and doesn’t run well out of the shotgun, which has become the norm in today’s NFL. We don't believe he'll usurp Ingram as the starter, though he should see a significant role a la Tim Hightower. Ingram may become a draft day value if his ADP takes a hit after this signing.
The New Orleans Saints are not done yet looking at big names on the NFL free-agent market.
Related players: Mark Ingram
Friday, December 16, 2016, 6:08pm
Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee) took limited practice reps again Friday. He was removed from the injury report, so he’s good to go. Ingram led the backfield in touches (8) but it wasn’t enough to make a fantasy impact. It’s a tough matchup against the Cardinals.
Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7:16pm
Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Ingram led the backfield in touches (8) but it wasn’t enough to make a fantasy impact. The team was just managing his early week workload by letting him rest on Wednesday.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 7:07pm
Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee) did not practice Wednesday. Ingram led the backfield in touches (8) but it wasn’t enough to make a fantasy impact. The team is probably just managing his early week workload by letting him rest on Wednesday.
Friday, December 9, 2016, 6:41pm
Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice Thursday and is questionable for Week 14. Crisis averted — Ingram should be able to play against the Bucs. Ingram limped off the field in Week 13, but returned to the game. He saw 12 touches, while Travaris Cadet (5) and Tim Hightower (3) were complementary players. The Saints play late on Sunday, so stay tuned over the weekend.
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 6:27pm
Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee) missed practice Thursday after taking limited reps Wednesday. Ingram limped off the field in Week 13, but returned to the game. He saw 12 touches, while Travaris Cadet (5) and Tim Hightower (3) were complementary players. The midweek downgrade is worrisome, but Ingram was a DNP last Wednesday and Thursday before playing in Week 13.
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