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Can Alvin Kamara bounce back after an average fantasy season?

Drew Brees playing a full season and extra motivation should help

NFL: DEC 29 Saints at Panthers Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alvin Kamara has been a consistent piece of the Saints offense since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, a draft that would rejuvenate the Saints and make them into contenders once again. Kamara scored 31 touchdowns and gained over 3,000 yards from scrimmage in his first two years in New Orleans. However, despite an average draft position of 2.5 last season, he finished as the RB13 in the PPR format and as the RB17 in non-PPR. This dip in production was the result of Drew Brees going down early in week 2, as well as Kamara’s own injury issues.

Despite Kamara posting his best fantasy game of the year in Week 3 against the Seahawks with Teddy Bridgewater under center, in which he scored twice, he did not score another touchdown again until week 16. Kamara struggled with Bridgewater under center, as opposing defenses stacked the box knowing the Saints would play more conservatively with Brees on the sideline.

A subsequent injury to Kamara that caused him to miss two games and only carry the ball four times in the game in which he returned, did not help his cause either. Brees going down and his own injury troubles put Kamara in a funk for most of 2019, causing him not to live up to his draft position.

However, I believe a bounce back fantasy season is in store for Kamara in 2020. Brees will be back under center, hopefully for the entire year, and the Saints offense will again be a point-scoring machine. Kamara will also be well-motivated to prove to the front office that he deserves a new contract, one in the realm of the $16 million per-year deal recently signed by fellow NFC South RB Christian McCaffrey.

The presence of Drew Brees will undoubtedly elevate Kamara’s fantasy output. In 2019, Kamara scored in double figures in PPR format in only 2/5 games in which Teddy Bridgewater took the majority of snaps. Despite favorable matchups, like a Week 6 showdown with Jacksonville’s atrocious run defense, Kamara was unable to produce like he did with Brees under center. In weeks where Brees took the majority of snaps, Kamara scored 10+ PPR points in 8/9 games.

The Verdict

Kamara is in store for a better fantasy season in 2020 as long as Brees remains healthy. With 2020 also being a contract year, he will likely channel his desire for a new deal, either in New Orleans or elsewhere, into production on the field. Kamara is currently projected to finish as the RB5 this season, with a point total of 240 PPR points. I believe this is a good position for Kamara this year, but it could be argued that backs like Austin Ekeler and Kenyan Drake could be headed for break-out seasons and could finish higher than Kamara.

I do not see this happening though unless an injury to Kamara or another key player on offense once again hinders his production. I would still draft Kamara in the top 15 but not until backs like Saquon Barkley and Derrick Henry are gone. Kamara should have a better 2020 campaign than 2019 and should finish as a top 8 RB this year, but until he proves otherwise, I would not consider him a top 3 fantasy back.