By Jack Spencer

Since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, first-round selection RB Mark Ingram has failed to live up to his draft status. Being fair to Ingram, the running back situation in New Orleans has been a bit of a log jam with Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory all sharing carries in the backfield. Ivory departed via free agency and it appears to some accounts, Ingram could be positioned for a much larger role this season for the Saints.

According to NOLA beat writer Mike Triplett, Ingram’s fantasy value is about ready to “skyrocket”. Triplett writes that Ingram has looked sharp in practice, coming into camp a little slimmer. New Orleans figures to add in more of a running game this season and with Ingram being healthy for the first time in his NFL career, his role could increase significantly.

Ingram got the starting nod last night with Pierre Thomas not dressing for the Saints game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Alabama product managed just three carries in his limited action for a total of twelve yards.

Before I start raising Ingram on my fantasy draft charts, I am going to have to believe that the Saints are going to be running the ball more and be committed to that. The team has one of the best offensive weapons in the game, QB Drew Brees, who has thrown for over 5,000 yards in three of the last five seasons. The larger question here is how improved is the Saints defense going to be this season under coordinator Rob Ryan. New Orleans was 31st versus the pass last season and 32nd against the run.

If the defense doesn’t make vast strides on those numbers, New Orleans is going to be playing from behind this season a lot. That does not translate into huge numbers for any running back on their roster, expect perhaps Darren Sproles in PPR scoring.

It’s great that Ingram looks good in camp. Ryan Mathews looked good in camp last season as well and fantasy owners know how well that translated into production on the field.

These situations with multiple running backs that all contribute make for frustrating situations for fantasy owners. One week Pierre Thomas might be the hot hand and next week it might be Ingram, it’s a real role of the dice. According to the Saints official team site, Thomas is still the number one back.

I don’t think I’m taking the bait on this one. I’m looking at other choices for my roster. Even if Ingram is named the lead back by opening week, there are going to be plenty of touches by Sproles and Thomas.

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