Late in the summer, Alvin Kamara was suspended for the first three games of the 2023 season. The New Orleans Saints had a plan in place to rely on veteran running back Jamaal Williams while he was out.
Now Kamara is back, but Williams will miss this week with a hamstring injury. When Kamara does show up to play, he will also have to compete for playing time with rookie Tony Jones Jr. and Kendre Miller. So, which Saints running back should fantasy football managers start?
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Alvin Kamara Fantasy Outlook This Week
Kamara joins a backfield that has been uninspiring to say the least, ranking 21st in total rushing yardage (average of 93 yards per game). The backfield clearly needs some juice, and he could be the man for the job. Kamara also has a leg up against his fellow running mates in that he is completely fresh with no wear and tear from the first three weeks of the season.
In 2022, Kamara rushed for 898 yards and caught 57 receptions, finishing with an average of 14 fantasy points per game, which was good for 13th among all running backs last season. He is easily the most proven option of the three backs the team has to choose from this week.
Kendre Miller Fantasy Outlook This Week
The young rookie had a slow start to things last week, finishing his first NFL game with only 34 yards on nine carries. Nobody should rush to judgment on this talented player from TCU, but so far, his career has been off to a rough start.
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Fantasy managers have seen hamstring and knee injuries keep Miller on the sideline, and you have to wonder if those preseason injuries have drained some of his effectiveness while he works to get back to 100%. From a long-term perspective, Miller is incredibly valuable to this team as he is the youngest running back on the starting roster.
Tony Jones Jr. Fantasy Outlook This Week
Jones had a long and winding journey to get here. He was a former Saints practice squad player who was with Seattle and Denver. The Saints signed him on Aug. 31 just days before the season started.
Last week, Jones reached a career high, gathering four receptions against the Packers. He appears to be a power back best utilized in short-yardage situations, but he has earned the trust of the coaching staff, and they have rewarded him with more opportunities.
Which of the New Orleans Saints’ Running Backs Should You Start?
This weekend, the Saints go up against divisional foe Tampa Bay, who is in the top half of the NFL against the run. Both of these teams despise each other, and each time these teams clash, it becomes a hard-hitting affair where points are at a premium. The Saints will want to use a veteran presence in this matchup, which is why I’m starting Kamara over his teammates in fantasy this week.
It’s reasonable to expect Kamara to be the lead back in this game. He’s the most talented of the three, and if you drafted him and held him through his suspension, you owe it to yourself to start him in his first game back.