A sliver of substance was added to the mirage that is Mark Ingram’s 2012 fantasy football value: His third rushing touchdown of the season was scored on Thursday Night Football. The New Orleans Saints backfield is simply too crowded for the former first-round pick to be trusted with a roster spot in shallow fantasy leagues at this stage of the season.
Ingram has to compete with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles for touches. Since Week 10, his rushing attempts have declined with each passing game. His rushing yards have remained constant (67 yards each in Week 10 and Week 11) or dropped on a weekly basis, too. Ingram carried the ball just six times on Thursday night for 13 yards and a touchdown.
He also caught one pass for negative-one yard—but receiving isn’t really his game. Ingram’s Thursday night reception was his fifth of the season and third that went for one yard or fewer.
Unless you’re in a very deep league with favorable situations at each of the other positions on your fantasy football roster, Ingram probably isn’t expected to contribute to your playoff-bound team. Three of his last four matchups are middling to favorable for opposing fantasy tight ends, but you’d be banking on touchdowns with Ingram in your lineup.
He has three in 2012.
Next season doesn’t look particularly promising in terms of Ingram’s probability of being a featured back for the Saints. Thomas and Sproles each agreed to four-year contracts with New Orleans in 2011, placing them in the third year of their respective deals in 2013.
Ivory is currently in a contract year. He’s played well in very limited duty this season; he's been active only for the team’s last five games, registering 36 rushes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints offense can roll without Ivory, but he’s a rusher that runs just as mean as Ingram does.
When both are active, their touches are most likely highly correlated.
If Ivory ends up elsewhere next season, Ingram would be worth a look as a No. 4 or No. 5 RB with upside if he were to ever get 20 touches per game—but injuries to the Saints’ other backfield options would have to take place first. New Orleans is a passing-oriented offense regardless, making your fantasy roster spots better spent elsewhere.
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