In PPR formats, the pool of usable fantasy RBs is much deeper than in standard leagues. There are opportunities to add real value at the position late in drafts by targeting pass catching specialists on high powered offenses. The high profile pass catchers who have provided us with valuable fantasy seasons in the past tend to be pricey additions to your team. There is one RB available late in drafts who plays for one particularly prolific offense with a long history of throwing loads of passes to players in this exact role.
Alvin Kamara will begin his NFL career in New Orleans sharing a backfield with Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram. The third round pick out of Tennessee doesn’t appear to have a clear path towards playing time at first glance. The veteran players will obviously have their roles, but I believe there is an opportunity for an emergence from Kamara in this offense. His skill set is unique to the roster, as he provides explosiveness and speed in the open field that the Saints haven’t seen at the RB position since the days of Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush. For the Vols last year, Kamara forced 23 missed tackles on 40 catches, the best rate of all RBs in his class. He and Dalvin Cook also finished tied with the highest elusive rating for all rookie RBs.
During the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era, the Saints have shown a willingness to throw passes to their RBs. As an offense, they are excellent at creating space to get their most explosive players the ball in the open field. Last season the NFL saw David Johnson and LeVeon Bell catch 80 & 75 passes respectively. No other RB in the league caught more than 60 in 2016. While playing for the Saints in this offense, Reggie Bush caught 88 passes in 2006 as a rookie and 73 more in 2007. Sproles caught 86 passes in 2011, 75 in 2012 and 71 in 2013. Pierre Thomas also had a 77 catch season in 2013. Those are tasty numbers for the fantasy enthusiasts. I’m not saying Kamara will put up those types of numbers in 2017, just that there is loads of upside in his role. If he can master the nuances of the game early on (and early signs out of training camp are very positive) and earn playing time, this is an offense, and more importantly, this is a QB that will get the ball in his hands often and let him run.
The Saints have also shown that they have no problem throwing rookies right into the mix, as we saw Michael Thomas last year and Brandin Cooks in 2014 both emerge as fantasy assets their rookie years. There are obviously some big-named and big-bodied roadblocks at the position blocking his path to the field, but Adrian Peterson is now 32 and Mark Ingram is loved so deeply by this coaching staff and front office that they felt the need to add not one, but two high priced additions at RB to compete for touches. I hope you are sensing my sarcasm there.
The Saints traded away their 2018 2nd round pick to move back into the 3rd round this year to draft Kamara. I believe the team has a specific role in mind for him right away, and he could potentially be the RB of the future in New Orleans. I think he is a perfect fit for this team and has a great chance to provide fantasy value right away in PPR leagues, with the potential to surge toward a much bigger role if there are injuries or ineffectiveness from the other two backs. According to Fantasypros.com, Kamara’s ADP is 150 overall and he is the 53rd RB off the board on average. That is borderline free in most drafts and could provide some really nice value to fantasy squads as a 4th or 5th RB. I don’t believe his true ceiling is being accounted for in his price. Right now he is a fantasy football afterthought, but that won’t last long. Go draft this man now.
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