Fantasy Football: Mark Ingram has hope in contract year?

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I’m always looking for possible under-the-radar fantasy football breakout candidates that my league mates probably aren’t high on heading into the draft. Those mid-round profit picks are often risks, but some risks are worth taking and can win you a championship.


Despite being a first-round pick, Mark Ingram has failed to live up to expectations in his three seasons. After rushing for five touchdowns each in his first two years, he crossed the goal line just once last year and had only 386 rushing yards, his fewest as a pro.


Lost among those stats is the fact that Ingram finally showed signs of emerging as a the kind of talent that led the Saints to trade up into the first round to select him in 2011 down the stretch last year; he put up 83 yards on the ground against a tough Carolina Panthers D on the road.


Nagging injuries and plenty of running back depth to compete with on the New Orleans roster hasn’t helped Ingram’s cause in his three years. However, the fact that he had a 4.9 yards per carry average in 2013, his career high, is a positive moving forward.


Ingram probably will never be very intriguing in point-per-reception formats as long as Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson are around, but even in another three-headed running back attack, 2014 could be Ingram’s best year to date.


Thanks to his prior injuries and lack of playing time, Ingram’s legs are fresh. He’s also planning to use the fact that the team didn’t pick up his fifth-year option as motivation. Head coach Sean Payton has noticed that Ingram is focused on moving on from the criticism he’s received for not panning out as a first-round draft pick.


Robinson and Travaris Cadet scare me some, I’ll admit. But as one of the last few running backs to fill my stable this year, I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on Ingram at little to no cost.

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