Daily Dr. Roto — May 9, 2018
Mark Ingram: Not So Saintly
About 4 pm yesterday, I got a text from a friend who told me that Saints RB Mark Ingram had been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season for PED use. I responded with just one word, “Wow!” For as good as Ingram was last season, I never saw this coming. Now, all I can think of are the ramifications for Ingram, the Saints, and Fantasy owners alike.
First off, I am incredibly disappointed in Ingram. Cheating is never acceptable at this (or any) level, and he should have known better. I never believe the old “I didn’t know what I was putting into my body” argument. You are a professional athlete — your job is to know what goes into your body! Ingram is also in a contract year. I think that he potentially will lose millions of dollars in his next deal because many GM’s will be unsure how good he is without the performance-enhancing drugs.
Even though Ingram’s suspension is for four games, it is for close to six games when it’s all said and done. Ingram will have to miss the first four games for the suspension. On Week 5 he will make his return, and I can’t imagine that he will get a full load of carries Monday night against Washington. Then in Week 6, the Saints are on a BYE week. So, when you think about it, Ingram is missing five of the first six weeks of the season. His steady return to the field won’t be until Week 7.
Luckily, the Saints can turn to Alvin Kamara to lead their backfield. Kamara is a Fantasy beast and will be even more valuable this season without Ingram than he was last year. However, one of the things that helped Kamara was the fact that he was always fresh in games as he and Ingram split touches to keep them both at their peak best. It is possible that this season Kamara will lose steam towards the end of the year (and Fantasy playoffs) when his owners need him most.
Reports have stated that the Saints knew that Ingram was under investigation. If this is true, then it makes me wonder why they did not use one of their draft picks on a running back. Not only did they choose to avoid the situation, but they also ended up trading a late 2018 pick and a first round pick in 2019 for DE Marcus Davenport. That is the type of move that a team makes when they think they are one player away from winning the Super Bowl. Are the Saints as close to winning a Super Bowl without Ingram for five or the first six weeks of the season?
Fantasy-wise I am torn. While this clearly moves Kamara to a top five or six overall pick this season, I am not quite sure where I will select Ingram. As of right now, I would love to have him be my RB3, but I have a feeling someone will take him earlier than that. For now, I would knock his value back at least two rounds (probably a fifth) as we see how this unfolds. My early projection for Kamara is 1800 total yards from scrimmage and 12+ TDs. For Ingram, I predict about 800 yards from scrimmage and 7 TDs.
Regardless, this is a sad day for New Orleans and the NFL. The NFL wants (and needs) a clean game and players like Ingram can only muddy the waters. I would be in favor of an eight-game suspension for PED use. Perhaps that would be a stronger message to those looking for an unfair advantage?
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