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Alvin Kamara’s still a Tier 1 running back, fantasy football or otherwise

A down 2019 has people down on AK, but you should still believe.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football is a fickle game. Something that I’ve always said about it was that it’s improbable to win your league on draft night, but it’s certainly possible to lose it. Miss on your first two picks and you can almost certainly be done for throughout no fault of your own.

This is a feeling that some Alvin Kamara owners (myself included) experienced in 2019. To finish the 2019 season, “AK” finished 9th amongst running backs in scoring (based on non-PPR standard leagues. Saying this now so that I don’t have to repeat myself every time I use one of these stats). A back-end RB1, which is certainly fine in the grand scheme of things, but not what those who drafted him as high as 1.1 were expecting then they took the New Orleans Saints’ dual-threat back. He finished behind players like Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, and Derrick Henry, all players generally ranked outside of the preseason top 10 for running backs. Getting one of those players could save a season. Getting a player like Kamara in 2019, while not an absolute tank, could hamper it.

Going into this season, Kamara’s fantasy stock is still high, though not as high as it was entering 2019. Fantasy Pro’s Draft Rankings has AK listed as their RB5, in the second tier of running backs along with guys like Henry, Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb, and just shy of the top tier that includes Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot.

Fantasy Football RB Tiers

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Christian McCaffrey Derrick Henry Miles Sanders
Saquon Barkley Alvin Kamara Aaron Jones
Ezekiel Elliot Dalvin Cook Kenyan Drake
Nick Chubb Austin Ekeler
Joe Mixon Chris Carson
Josh Jacobs Todd Gurley
Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Tiers taken from Fantasy Pros

Do not let 2019 sway you. Alvin Kamara still deserved to be in that Tier 1 of running back.

To be clear, Alvin Kamara was not in top form in 2019. He got injured in the middle of the season and never really truly got back up to speed throughout the rest of the season. It also came to light on Tuesday that Kamara played the entire second half of 2019 on a Torn MCL. While he still managed to perform despite his injury, he didn’t put up the Alvin Kamara numbers we’ve come to know and expect (and for good reason). He only registered three games over 70 rushing yards and four of his five rushing touchdowns in 2019 came in Weeks 16 and 17.

This season, however, Kamara is healthy. The offense also won’t be missing it’s HOF QB Drew Brees for six weeks (that however didn’t slow AK in 2019, he put up his best game with Bridgewater at QB). So while his total yards and touchdowns went down, his rate stats stayed roughly in the same place as they were in the first two years of his career, with a higher reception % and targets in line with what he got in 2017 and 2018 despite missing two games.

Alvin Kamara Receiving Per Season

Season 2017 2018 2019
Season 2017 2018 2019
Targets 106 115 104
Receptions 86 96 89
Rec % 81.13% 83.48% 85.58%
YPC 10.4 8.8 6.4

Kamara’s also has something fairly less quantifiable on his side. He’s playing for a big contract. It seemed like a foregone conclusion heading into 2019 that Kamara would be one of, if not the, top paid RBs in the NFL when his rookie contract expired in 2021. With his down 2019, Kamara needs a big 2020 to prove he’s still one of the best at his position and worthy of that big contract.

Alvin Kamara is still a stud. He’s still near unmatched in his balance and his ability to stay on his feet and shrug off hits that would kill a mortal man. He just needs to stay healthy in 2020 and he’ll prove that he’s still in that Tier 1 of not just fantasy football running backs, but running backs overall.

Do you think Kamara could be a top fantasy running back in 2020? Explain in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @MatthewGTerry.