RB Alvin Kamara - New Orleans Saints
|5-10, 214||Born: 7-25-1995||College: Tennessee||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2017|
Week 20: vs Los Angeles Rams
FBG says: Good matchup. The 2018 Saints were characteristically dominant on the ground, riding a one-two punch of dynamic runners to a No. 6 overall finish in the regular season. Dating back to Mark Ingram's Week 5 return from suspension, he and Alvin Kamara combined to average 106 yards a game. That said, the team as a whole finished just 17th on a per-carry basis as their efficiency waned a bit down the stretch. Last week against the Eagles, Ingram broke off a 36-yard run on a big fourth-quarter drive but managed just 17 yards on his other 8 attempts. Kamara fared a bit better, racking up 71 yards over his 16 carries, and he looks like the (slightly) featured runner at this point. A three-down back whose explosiveness is crucial for this offense, he's taken double-digit rushes in 10 of his 12 games alongside Ingram. It's never easy to nail down their distribution, but both can typically be projected to strong volume and productivity. They're buoyed greatly by the Saints' hyper-efficient offense, which provides them plenty of running room and scoring opportunity. The dynamic duo is also aided by a strong front line, particularly on the right side, with center Max Unger and tackle Ryan Ramczyk both posting All-Pro-caliber seasons. Last week, 17 of the pair's 25 rushes went either up the middle or to the right, accounting for 90 of their 124 yards. All told, it's easy to project another run-heavy Saints approach this Sunday. The Saints always seek to establish the run early and dominate with it, and they're successful more often than not. The Rams have been beatable all year in the running game, despite the presence of tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. Given all of the factors at play, both Kamara and Ingram enter the Championship Round with great outlooks for both volume and efficiency. The Rams run defense has struggled for most of 2018 but certainly rose to the occasion in the Divisional Round. On the strength of season-best showings from tackle Ndamukong Suh and linebacker Corey Littleton, they held Ezekiel Elliott to just 47 yards on 20 attempts, never allowing him to find a big crease or develop any real rhythm. It was a fantastic performance, but this is still anything but a reliable unit. During the regular season, the Rams ranked 23rd in raw yardage allowed (122 per game) and yielded an NFL-high 5.1 per carry. Down the stretch, they gave up huge performances to the likes of Jordan Howard (19 for 101) and Alfred Morris (16 for 111 and 1 touchdown) while allowing a flood of ground touchdowns. Suh and Aaron Donald are stout presences inside, but in general, this is a front seven built to attack the pass first and foremost. As a result, the undersized linebackers often find themselves swept out of the interior run game. Littleton was decent on the year, but safety hybrid Mark Barron was a major liability, and splash plays through the second level remain a weekly concern. Only 8 NFL teams allowed more runs of 10+ yards, a particularly discouraging stat with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram on the docket. The Saints love running through open holes on the defense's left side, making Littleton, Barron, and Dante Fowler the true X-factors in this matchup.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36
Alvin Kamara's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 19 vs PHI (16 / 71 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 35 / 0 rec)
It was a tough game on the ground for the Saints. They had featured their backs so heavily all season and found great success. However, this week they ran at a wall of Eagles defenders over and over again to almost no avail. Kamara saw the bulk of the work and almost doubled up Ingram on carries. He was also second on the team in receptions despite not being involved in the passing game early. Kamara's longest rush of the game was 15 yards, but his most important was the last 12-yard rush for a first down that allowed the Saints to take a knee and end the game. Kamara combined for over 100 yards this week, but they did not seem to use him in the same spots. Both of Brees touchdowns came from the 2-yard line, and this is a spot that they have used either Kamara or Ingram almost all season. The Saints are going to need a much more balanced attack next week to beat the Rams. Kamara and the rushing game will have to get things going early to come away with the victory.
2018 Week 16 vs PIT (7 / 23 / 2 rush, 6 / 4 / 82 / 0 rec)
There was not much room to run this week for Kamara. He only had 7 carries and rushed for less than 25 yards. However, he did get his number called twice at the goal line. His first score also came on his longest carry of the game. Kamara took the ball 8 yards off tackle and won the foot race to the corner of the end zone. His second score was a pure power run right up the middle. Ingram had done the work to get the Saints to the 1-yard line but failed to punch it in on the play prior. Kamara cleaned up the mess and punched it in for the score. It was also another productive day through the air. Kamara caught 4 of his 6 targets and was second on the team in receiving yards. He had an important 42-yard reception just before half time to setup a Lutz field goal. Kamara caught the ball across the middle and then cut down the sideline for extra yards before finally stepping out. It proved to be very important as the final difference in the game was a single field goal.
2018 Week 15 vs CAR (14 / 67 / 1 rush, 9 / 7 / 36 / 0 rec)
This game would have had a much different ending had it not been for Kamara in the second half. The Saints rode Ingram heavy in the first half and found success moving the ball but could not find the end zone. It was Kamara who finally broke that trend with a little over 12 minutes left in the game to give the Saints the lead. He took the ball 16 yards off the right tackle for the touchdown. It was a pure speed run as he bounced to the outside and simply outran the poor angle of the defender to the end zone. Where Kamara really set himself apart from Ingram this week was in the passing game. He tied Thomas for the team lead with 9 targets and 7 receptions. He was never truly able to break free and was tackled almost immediately on almost every throw. His longest reception this week went for 11 yards. With 23 total touches this week, Kamara finally saw the volume he was getting at the start of the season. Ingram is always going to be there taking away carries, but Kamara is still the better option out of that back field going forward.
2018 Week 14 vs TB (12 / 51 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 36 / 0 rec)
Since Mark Ingram returned, Kamara has not been the same back. The Saints continue to split their carries and will not commit one way or the other. The split today was 12 for Kamara and 13 for Ingram. The biggest difference was in the passing game where Kamara had 6 targets to Ingram's 3. There has been a changing dynamic all season. Some weeks Kamara will get the goal line carries and Ingram the passing situations and visa versa. It has been a tough season to predict for the Saints backfield. Kamara's longest run today was 12 yards off tackle and his longest reception was 15 yards. Kamara had not found the end zone on the ground since week 10 where he had back to back games with 2 touchdowns. Kamara did chip in with a 2-point conversion today but did not get the same usage in the red zone as earlier in the season.
2018 Week 13 vs DAL (11 / 36 / 0 rush, 11 / 8 / 36 / 0 rec)
With Drew Brees struggling, the rushing attack needed to pick up the slack, but that did not happen this week. Kamara hit a wall of defenders every time he touched the ball and was able to break free only once for 7 yards. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry this week and was bottled up by a devastating defense this week. He did his damage in the passing game by catching 8 of his 11 targets, but his longest play through the air was only 8 yards. Kamara only averaged 4.5 yards per catch this week and could not break free there either. He was also targeted on the final drive of the game where Brees threw the interception, but there was nothing he could do to change that play. Kamara saw 35 offensive snaps or about 63% of their plays. This was 14 more snaps than Ingram, but he only did more damage in the passing game. It was not a great day for Kamara or anyone else in the Saints offense.
2018 Week 12 vs ATL (14 / 89 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
The Saints have the luxury of 2 running backs who can lead the way on any given week. This week it was Kamara who had 15 touches to Ingram's 11. He was able to find more room to run through the line and cut through even the smallest hole with authority this week. Kamara averaged 6.4 yards per carry this week and was the most effective back for the Saints. The passing game took an unusual route as Brees targeted his second and third options at receiver rather than his stars. There were weeks when Kamara would have 10+ targets in the passing game and this week he only had 1. His longest rush of the night was 18 yards off tackle for a first down. The team as a whole rushed for 150 total yards and Kamara made up for about 2/3 of that total. Expect the Saints to continue to rotate their backs and keep everyone as fresh and healthy as possible going into the playoffs.
2018 Week 11 vs PHI (13 / 71 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 37 / 1 rec)
The return of Ingram was always going to cut into Kamara's playing time, but the Saints have made it work the last 2 years. This week the distribution was very close with Kamara having 14 touches and Ingram having 16. Kamara did not have as much success on the ground this week, but was the only running back to catch a pass. Kamara was the recipient of an amazing throw from Brees on 4th and 6 down the sideline. The Saints lined up in an empty set and Kamara ran a streak down the sideline. It looked to be designed as a clear out route to get the first down underneath. That was until Kamara got a step on his man and Brees hit him in stride 24 yards down the field. Kamara ran the other 13 yards on his own for the touchdown. This was his only target of the day and it looked more like a receiver route than a running back. Kamara chipped in a long run of 16 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry this week. The Saints could have easily pushed both of their back over 100 yards, but Dwayne Washington got a few carries at the end of the game in a cleanup role instead of Kamara.
2018 Week 10 vs CIN (12 / 56 / 2 rush, 5 / 4 / 46 / 0 rec)
It has been Kamara's backfield to lead for the majority of the season, but Ingram cut in to that this week. He still managed exactly 100 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was not the same dominance that we have seen all season. Kamara had 12 carries to Ingram's 11 and 5 targets to Ingram's 3. The most important category was the touchdowns. Kamara got the goal line work this week in a role reversal to all of last season. The Saints like the way he darts through defenders or gets to the outside down around the goal line and have used him extensively this year. His longest rush of the day was 14 yards and his longest reception was 19. His first touchdown was a 4-yard power run right off the guard. Kamara made his way through traffic and powered his way into the end zone. His second touchdown was from 1-yard out but a little more difficult. He took the pitch from Brees but had to retreat almost 10 yards before gaining the corner on the defensive end and sprinting his way for the touchdown. The play was late to develop and was not blocked very well, but Kamara used his speed for the touchdown. The Saints backfield looked a lot more like it did last season this week and that is a scary thought going in to playoff time.
2018 Week 9 vs LAR (19 / 82 / 2 rush, 5 / 4 / 34 / 1 rec)
The Saints seem to have finally figured out that Kamara is the future of their back field and the best option they currently have on their roster. They rushed him 19 times and targeted him another 5 times in the passing game. Kamara rewarded this trust with 3 total touchdowns and was the driving force behind the Saints biggest win of the season. His first touchdown was an 11-yard scamper into the end zone. Kamara took the pitch off the left side and showed some fancy footwork to follow his blocks into the end zone. The second touchdown was a short catch and run outlet pass where he caught the ball 6 yards down field and had enough for the first down but then turned the corner for the last 10 yards and was untouched going into the end zone. His third and final touchdown was a 1-yard power run right up the middle. There was a massive hole and Kamara was not even touched going into the end zone. This is an area normally reserved for Mark Ingram, but the Saints continue to trust Kamara more right now. It will be a great running back matchup next week with Kamara squaring off against Joe Mixon and the Bengals.
2018 Week 8 vs MIN (13 / 45 / 1 rush, 8 / 7 / 31 / 1 rec)
After taking a back seat due to the return of Mark Ingram, Kamara finally broke through with 2 touchdowns this week. Both backs had the same number of carries, but Kamara got the most important one. After he caught a pass from Brees and took the ball to the 1-yard line, Kamara's number was called again as he leapt up and over the line for a touchdown. It has traditionally been Ingram who has gotten the ball in these situations, but the Saints gave Kamara the opportunity to cap of the drive where he had done most of the work. Kamara also hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brees for the Saints first touchdown of the game. New Orleans utilized the mismatch created by Kamara when there was a linebacker in coverage. There are very few linebackers that can keep up with Kamara in pass coverage and the Vikings learned that the hard way this week. Kamara led the Saints in targets this week with 8 and caught 7 of them. There is no telling which back is going to get the work each week and the Saints like having that element of surprise.
2018 Week 7 vs BAL (17 / 64 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
After being pushed to near irrelevance in Ingram's first game back, Kamara was the one who got the ball more this week and even came away with the lone touchdown on the ground. Both backs lost 6 carries to Taysom Hill, but it was Ingram who lost more volume this week than Kamara. The carry distribution was 17 for Kamara and 12 for Ingram. There were always going to be games where one back had the hot hand and was running better than the other, but today it was not quite that different. Kamara averaged just over a yard per carry more than Ingram at 3.7, and his longest run was 12 yards. The biggest difference this week was the amount of goal line work Kamara got. On the Saints second touchdown, it was Kamara who got the ball 4 times within the red zone and eventually punched it in from the 2-yard line. This was the first second half touchdown allowed by the Ravens all season and it was just a pure power run by Kamara up the middle. He also received 2 targets in the passing game and hauled in both. The Saints are going to need one of their backs to get hot next week against the Vikings if they want to come away with another win.
2018 Week 5 vs WAS (6 / 24 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
Oh, what could have been? Kamara was the offensive leader for the Saints in the first 4 weeks and one of the only players not named Michael Thomas to excel in the offense. Then enter week5 and the return of Mark Ingram and it all changed. Kamara was out touched 9-18 and even lost work in the passing game to Ingram. His longest play of the game was a meaningless 9-yard rush and a 6-yard reception. The Saints made it clear that Ingram is still the starter despite what Kamara has done in recent weeks. Going forward, this season should look a lot like last with the offense riding the hot back from week to week. If Kamara can break a play early he should see more work, but he is always in danger of losing goal line carries to Ingram for the rest of the season. If the split continues this way, Kamara is going to move down in a lot of the rankings.
2018 Week 4 vs NYG (19 / 134 / 3 rush, 9 / 5 / 47 / 0 rec)
Kamara was trying to make a statement the week before Mark Ingram comes back from suspension. He has had a very up and down season so far as the Saints have not committed to using him like a lead back. Through 3 weeks he has had more value through the air than on the ground, but that changed this week. Kamara kicked things off with a 9-yard scamper behind the left guard for his touchdown. New Orleans lined up with Taysom Hill at quarterback and went read option for the touchdown. Hill has been a threat to throw the ball after a successful fake punt play, but it was always going to be a run play in this situation. The second touchdown was a 4-yard plunge where he was originally ruled short of the goal line. After a review the play was overturned, and Kamara awarded his second touchdown. His 3rd and final touchdown was the dagger for the Giants. Kamara burst off tackle for 49 yards and put the game out of reach. He turned the corner and put on the jets all the way to the end zone. Kamara also hauled in 5 of his team high 9 targets this week and had the same number of yards as Michael Thomas through the air. The split for carries should still favor Kamara with Ingram coming back and he should not lose his value in the passing game, but it will be interesting to see how much Ingram cuts into his overall number of touches.
2018 Week 3 vs ATL (16 / 66 / 0 rush, 20 / 15 / 124 / 0 rec)
It only took 3 weeks, but the Saints finally committed to Kamara in the offense. He had 16 carries to lead all runners and also had 20 targets in the passing game, also a team high. Kamara did not find it very easy to run against the Falcons, but his 16 carries did help soften things up underneath for the passing game. Kamara was not credited with a touchdown after his 3-yard plunge in overtime was overturned and set the Saints up on the 1-yard line. It is not very often that you see Brees take away 2 touchdowns from his running backs on the ground, but he made up for it with the 20 targets and over 100 yards in the air. Kamara's longest rush came in at 17 yards and the longest reception at 21. He may not have gotten into the end zone, but he helped keep drives alive on third down and served as a decoy all day long. The Falcons seemed committed to sell out and stop the run. There was a linebacker on a run blitz almost every play and this opened things up underneath for a streaking receiver or for Kamara to leak out as a check down. The best example was the 4th and 1 play where the play action to Kamara resulted in an easy touchdown for Zach Line. Kamara would have been stopped in the back field and resulted in a turnover on downs, but the play resulted in a touchdown instead because of the commitment to Kamara. With the return of Mark Ingram looming, it will be interesting to see how Kamara's usage changes down the stretch.
2018 Week 2 vs CLE (13 / 46 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 53 / 0 rec)
It is baffling that the Saints will not commit to Kamara in the offense. He played second fiddle to Mark Ingram last season and now that he gets his opportunity for the bulk of the work due to Ingram's suspension, the Saints refuse to use him. Kamara only had 5 more carries than back up Mike Gillislee. There is no reason he should receive less than 20 touches per game, especially when he is one of the Saints best weapons. Kamara had an early touchdown erased after an offensive holding call, and his only other real opportunity was a two-point conversion he converted right up the middle. Brees wanted to get the second year back going in the passing game and threw 6 targets his way. Kamara fell a yard short of 100 combined yards this week and was never given the chance to get going. The Saints are going to have to reassess their usage of Kamara going forward or they are going to continue to struggle against teams like the Browns. It will be interesting to see how his usage is affected when Ingram comes back from suspension as well.
2018 Week 1 vs TB (8 / 29 / 2 rush, 12 / 9 / 112 / 1 rec)
It is hard to get anything going on the ground when your team is down, and the opposition seems to be able to score at will. Kamara was able to cash in on some easy goal line touchdowns as well as one through the air within 10 yards. The vaunted rush attack that kept teams at bay last season was never able to get going as they collectively rushed the ball 13 times for 43 total yards. Kamara found success rushing the ball off the ends for 5 and 1-yard touchdowns and a two-point conversion right up the middle. Kamara also made his presence felt in the passing game catching 9 of 12 targets for over 100 yards. He also took a quick swing pass into the end zone, again striking from the outside. The Saints will need to do a better job establishing the run next week against the Browns to have a more balanced offense. Kamara will continue to see the bulk of the work while Ingram is serving his suspension and while Gillislee is recovering from his disastrous fumble today.
Latest NewsSaints | Alvin Kamara tops 100 total yards (Sun Jan 13, 08:16 PM) - New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara rushed 16 times for 71 yards and caught four passes for 35 yards in a 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round Sunday, Jan. 13. link to story
New Orleans Saints Team LinksDepth Chart Season Stats Targets Red Zone Game Logs
Footballguys ArticlesDraftKings GPP Domination: Conference Championships - Footballguys
Phil Alexander - January 17
DraftKings GPP Domination: Division Round - Footballguys
Phil Alexander - January 11
Roundtable Week 14
FBG Staff - December 5
The Top 10 Week 14 - Footballguys
Matt Waldman - December 3
Roundtable Week 12 - Footballguys
FBG Staff - November 21
Roundtable Week 7 - Footballguys
FBG Staff - October 18
True Fantasy Points: Week 5 Update
Danny Tuccitto - October 5
The Best of Week 5 - Footballguys
Matt Waldman - October 4
The Sharp Report Week 5
Ryan Zamichieli - October 3
Roundtable Week 5 - Footballguys
FBG Staff - October 3
Articles from around the webFantasy Football: How to Spot a Breakout Running Back
J.J. Zachariason - May 24
Fantasy Football: Can Waiver-Wire Running Backs Really Replace Early-Round Picks?
Brandon Gdula - May 31
Silva's Fantasy Top 150
Evan Silva - May 31
20 fantasy predictions with huge fallouts (if wrong)
Michael Fabiano - June 5
The best fantasy football draft strategy for 2018
Michael Fabiano - June 7
9 Undervalued Players in Fantasy Football Based on Expected Win Totals
Jim Sannes - June 12
Preseason Preview: Running Backs
David Dorey - June 12
Cowboys Fantasy Preview
Evan Silva - June 15
Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Doubting the Eagles offense and other early busts
Heath Cummings - June 18
Which RBs Do You Trust?
Steve Schwarz - June 18