The 2019 season is still far off in the horizon, but it’s never too early to get ready for the upcoming year of fantasy football. Winning your league begins with monitoring top free agents like running back Mark Ingram. Ingram, a former first-round pick out of Alabama, spent the 2018 season in a timeshare with the hyper-athletic Alvin Kamara. Now set to hit the open market, Ingram’s fantasy stock could skyrocket if he lands in the right situation.
Fantasy Football: Top Free Agency Matches for Mark Ingram
This one is almost too obvious. The Baltimore Ravens will enter the 2019 season with Lamar Jackson under center, meaning that Baltimore will be among the most run-heavy offenses in football. Baltimore averaged a staggering 229.6 rushing yards-per-game with Jackson under center, and that total shouldn’t dramatically change in 2019.
Jackson is a fantastic athlete, but he’s still a work-in-progress as a passer. Defenses have been getting lighter and smaller for years now in an attempt to combat the pass-happy NFL. Baltimore is seemingly trying to combat this change by going big and running the ball against these lighter defensive fronts. The Ravens basically have no wide receivers on their roster and are carrying four highly-drafted tight ends. Baltimore is making it obvious that their plan is to run the ball as much as humanly possible.
Right now, Gus Edwards stands to see the lions’ share of the workload. Edwards performed admirably in the final half of 2018, recording 654 yards and two touchdowns in seven games with Lamar Jackson. However, Edwards is replaceable and Ingram would immediately rise to the top of the depth chart should he sign in Baltimore. While this may be something of a running back by committee, Baltimore will run the ball enough to make both Ingram and Edwards starting commodities.
The Oakland Raiders need help just about everywhere, and Mark Ingram could provide the rushing attack they so desperately need. Marshawn Lynch might retire, Doug Martin is a free agent, and neither was that inspiring an option to begin with. The only running back of note on the roster is Jalen Richard, and he’s more of a pass catcher anyway.
If Ingram comes to Oakland, he will be the unquestioned starter and bell cow running back in the offense. Richard will come in on passing downs, but Ingram should see the majority of the playing time. Oakland’s offensive line isn’t that good right now, but the Raiders have $60.9 million in cap space and three first-round picks. With an abundance of resources, they should be able to shore up their offensive line troubles.
Basically, the Ingram and Richard backfield has a chance to be a poor mans’ version of the Mark Ingram – Alvin Kamara backfield in New Orleans. Just like Kamara, Richard is a dangerous pass catcher while Ingram is the between-the-tackles, physical runner. However, unlike Kamara, Richard isn’t good enough to make Ingram the second fiddle. We already know Ingram can be a valuable fantasy piece in a committee, and going to Oakland would only increase his overall snap percentage.
New Orleans Saints
(UPDATE: With Latavius Murray going to the Saints, Ingram will most likely be playing somewhere else in 2019.)
Baltimore and Oakland offer higher potential, but New Orleans offers the most security and peace of mind. After spending the last two years splitting time with Kamara, everyone knows exactly what to expect from this backfield. Ingram played in 12 games last season, averaging 10.7 fantasy points-per-game in standard scoring. This production, while not fantastic, makes Ingram a solid flex piece in a small league or a possible RB2 in a deeper league. With the same personnel and coaching staff, there is no reason to expect Ingram’s production to change if he comes back to the Saints.
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