The New Orleans Saints have had a tumultuous start to the season with injuries to their starting running back. The team already had to start three games without Alvin Kamara, who was suspended for the first three games of the season, which left Jamaal Williams as the primary running back to keep the offense going.
Now that Williams is injured and will be out this week, who will be the running back that steps up, and who should you start in fantasy football?
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Kendre Miller Fantasy Outlook This Week
Kendre Miller was a productive running back coming out of Texas Christian University, where he had a breakout college season in 2022 and finished with 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Saints loved what they saw and decided to take him in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but it has been a rocky start to the running back’s career.
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He suffered a knee injury at the end of his college football career in a New Year’s Bowl game against the Michigan Wolverines, but he recovered in time to join the Saints for training camp. There, he sprained the same knee in camp and later pulled his hamstring, which kept him out of action through the first two games of the season.
Tony Jones Jr. Fantasy Outlook This Week
Jones has had a relatively quiet career in the NFL. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints in 2020, but he spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos before ultimately reuniting with New Orleans on Aug. 30, where the team elevated him to the starting roster from the practice squad.
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Jones was instantly relied on when starting running back Williams was forced to leave early due to a hamstring injury. With Kamara still suspended and Miller limited by his own hamstring injury, the Saints had to lean on Jones, who stepped up in a big way by handling 13 rushing attempts for 39 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Now that the dust has settled from Week 2, it’s known that Williams will be out for the upcoming matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Miller has completely recovered from his hamstring injury, and he has put together a week of full practices, so the Saints will be able to rely on two running backs this weekend.
Which of the New Orleans Saints’ Running Backs Should You Start?
Jones profiles as a grinder back who can be utilized in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. His goal-line activity will be essential for his fantasy production, as he has only caught 10 passes in his four-year career, and he’s never had a rushing play.
Miller brings some juice to the backfield. He was known as an explosive rusher in college, and he has never finished a season with a yards-per-carry mark under six yards. Still, there’s a high level of uncertainty with Miller since he has never seen live game action in the regular season.
The Saint’s opponent this Sunday is the Packers, who have allowed an average of 166 rushing yards per game, which ranks as the third-worst rush defense in the NFL. This is an ideal spot for a running back to succeed.
Green Bay will be looking to lock down superstar receiver Chris Olave, so I would expect the running game to be a successful way to attack this defense. Miller carries much more upside as a faster, quicker running back, and I expect him to make big plays this Sunday in his first NFL regular season game.
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