Running back Mark Ingram II has been traded to the New Orleans Saints, returning him to where he began his NFL career. The Saints were expected to be active before the NFL trade deadline next week, and the addition of Ingram fills a huge need.
During the course of the season, Ingram averaged 14.3 opportunities per game (rushing attempts plus targets). In Week 1, he scored 14.5 fantasy points, but from Week 2 through , he averaged only five points. It is possible that Ingram will have greater success with the Saints, for whom he averaged 17.6 opportunities and 15.6 PPR fantasy points per game from 2014 to 2018. While the veteran running back won’t be able to match those lofty numbers playing behind Alvin Kamara, Ingram could help him shoulder some of the heavy workload Kamara has been provided since the injury Tony Jones Jr. With Ingram’s familiarity with the Saints’ offensive scheme, he should be able to hit the ground running (no pun intended).
From the time Sean Payton took over the Saints in 2006, the team has relied heavily on its running backs, and so looking at former Saints back Latavius Murray may provide the best harbinger of Ingram’s opportunity; between 2019 and 2020, Murray had an average of 11.6 opportunities per game. A major upgrade to the offensive line should allow Ingram to improve on the 3.2 yards per carry he averaged behind the Texans line this season, but his arrival does not diminish Kamara’s value. Ingram can be viewed as an RB4.
In Houston, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay will see more touches now that Ingram is gone. The Texans’ offense isn’t one of the most potent in the NFL, averaging just 275 yards per game (30th), but if you were to pick just one Houston running back to be fantasy relevant, I’d pick Lindsay. Remember that he had consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more rushing yards in 2018 and 2019. Texans running backs were given 29.2 opportunities per game this season. Due to the departure of Ingram, Lindsay may see his largest workload of the season, as he has only averaged six opportunities per game so far.