The National Football League’s off-season marches on as we are putting the draft in the rearview mirror. The next step for NFL teams is to get those rookies they drafted signed and into camp as soon as possible. There is a huge learning curve for incoming rookies. The size and speed of the NFL is a sight to behold and the newcomers need as much time in camp as they can to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Free agents will just have to wait until after the first year players are all signed up before they can sign with a team. But this is the NFL so there is always new stories to report.
Mark Ingram Suspended 4 Games
The New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming 2018 NFL season. He was found in violation of the league’s policy for performance-enhancing drugs. While he has emphatically denied the charges against him, he did lose his appeal with the NFL. Now, this appeal has been passed on to an arbitrator for an opinion due on or before Wednesday May 16. Mark Ingram will weigh his options until said opinion is released.
It is a big blow to the running back. He is coming off his second career Pro Bowl year where he rushed for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns as well as gaining another 416 yards as a receiver. But more importantly, Ingram is going into a contract year in 2018 and having that strike against you isn’t going to help while looking to sign a free agent contract.
This doesn’t really have too big of an impact on the Saints. They will still have a strong offense and field a good team. While his absence will affect the weekly point spreads, expect the Saints to be favorites even without Ingram the first four games. At home versus the Bucs, at home versus the Browns, then at Atlanta and then at the Giants. Barring the Falcons game, not exactly the toughest of schedules. They have fellow Pro Bowler Alvin Kamara after all. Instead of splitting time with Ingram, look for him to simply take on a larger role the first four games. It may actually help the Saints as long as Kamara stays healthy. Getting a rested Mark Ingram back four games into the season can’t hurt and may set them up for a strong finish.
In the fantasy football world, Kamara’s value goes up significantly while Ingram’s value, of course, will drop. However, his misstep sets Ingram up to be a real steal in fantasy drafts. People will stay away from drafting him so look to grab him after the sixth round.
Zeke Poised to be Best Fantasy Running Back of 2018
Ezekiel Elliott had a tough 2017 to say the least. He still had a productive year, rushing for 983 yards and seven touchdowns in only 10 games, but the constant court battles over a six game suspension due to violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy stemming from a domestic violence case. This offseason has been much different. Much quieter.
The only noise this offseason has been the door closing behind the Cowboys’ big offensive weapons. Dez Bryant’s huge contract finally became a liability and he was released. Jason Witten, on the other hand, finally retired and joined ESPN as a commentator.
These moves only adds value to Elliott fantasy standing. Elliott goes from a troubled young star to an established veteran in a few short months. Look for the bulk of the offense to be run through Zeke. Until Prescott proves otherwise, the Cowboys are Elliott’s team for now..
There are many great fantasy running backs this coming year. Bell, Gurley, Johnson, Kamara, Hunt, Gordon, and even rookie Saquon Barkley. Elliott belongs near the top of these lists but will often be found in the middle or the bottom. If you have the chance to grab Elliott as the 6th or 8th overall fantasy pick, grab him up. He’s a steal.