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Mark Ingram Key Player for Week 9 of Fantasy Football

nfl_fantasy_football_banner-e1411153923397For this week’s column, I’m just gonna focus on one thing. I’m gonna focus on one single player. A player who in my book is great, and has the potential to be one of the greatest. Mark Ingram. I wrote briefly about him last year, so this may seem like a repeat. And it kind of is.
Reason being, Ingram is an absolute powerhouse. In college it was something everyone knew. Everyone knew about the running back from Alabama who combined power and speed, ball carrier vision and agility, and brought the college running game to a new level. In 2009, Ingram won the award for SEC Offensive Player of the Year. In that same year, he achieved the level of First-team All-SEC, was awarded an All-American Player award, and helped bring Alabama to win the SEC Championship. And last but certainly not least, Ingram was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 2009. Then, in 2010, Ingram continued on to win the BCS National Championship, and was given the award of Most Valuable Player.
To throw some statistics out there, Ingram racked up 1658 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009; not to mention, he averaged six yards per carry. That puts him at number four on the list of rushing yard leaders of 2009. But aside from the stats and numbers, there was something different about Mark Ingram that set him apart from the rest, and still sets him apart today. Mark Ingram never stops. Yeah you could say that about a plethora of backs, from when football started to today. But there are some backs that I see, and I can just tell that there’s something inside of them that’s a bit different from your average back. Ingram has been somewhat held back since he joined the NFL in 2011.
When he joined the New Orleans Saints, the team had a total of five running backs, four of which started frequently. Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas were both above Ingram on the roster, and Chris Ivory saw almost as many looks as Ingram did. Then, in 2012, Ingram proved himself worthy of the Saints starting lineup. He finished the year with 602 rushing yards (a career high for Ingram) and five touchdowns. However, when 2013 rolled around, he slipped back into the void of 2011, and almost chopped his total yardage in half from the previous year (with the help of a toe injury from weeks three to eight). And this year, we’re only half of the way through, and he’s already poised to break his career high from 2012.
In week seven, he took on the Green Bay Packers, and posted a career high 172 rushing yards and one touchdown, followed only by the Saints game versus the Cowboys in 2013, where he put up 145 rushing yards. The Saints were missing the talents of Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson to injury, so Ingram was free to take the field by storm, which he did, and will continue to do. You can’t keep talent like that cooped up behind a slew of running backs for too long. Sure it’s a team sport, but sometimes you have to let the Ingrams of the game show their true potential.
QBs I like in Week 9:
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Oakland Raiders): At home. Against the Oakland Raiders. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision. But in case it is, here are some stats that I can throw in your face. The Raiders are 0-7 so far this year. Oakland has allowed opposing quarterbacks to collectively muster up a 70% completion rating so far this year. That’s number 31 on that list. Also, Oakland has allowed an average of about 130 rushing yards per game this year. And rushing is what Russell Wilson thrives on. If there was ever a surefire pick, I’d say this is it. But be cautious, as you always should. Tom Brady went up against the Jets in 2013 and only posted 228 yards and zero touchdowns. Not sure if this helps at all, but I put Wilson in no questions asked.
2. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis Rams): The Rams and 49ers have already met this year back in week 7, and Kaepernick completed 22 of his 35 passes, threw for 343 yards, and put up three touchdowns. And that was even on the road. This week they host the Rams, so I would expect Kaepernick to do just as well, if not better against St. Louis this week.
RB’s I like in Week 9:
1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Oakland Raiders): This should be another no brainer, for the same reasons that Russell Wilson is a no brainer. The Raiders have given up an average of 21 fantasy points to opposing running backs this year, putting them at second place on that list, matched only by the 26 points given up by the Falcons. Lynch is an absolute monster who could simply be described as a train. He doesn’t really stop. For anything. So you can expect some monster numbers from him this week as he’s pitted up against the less than average Raiders team. Especially with the Seattle crowd behind him.
2. Frank Gore, San Fracisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis Rams): So far this year, the St. Louis Rams have given up an average of 144 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. Although Gore has been underperforming since his week four bout with Philadelphia, it’s about time for him to come out again. The Rams have also allowed an average 4.7 yards per carry to opposing backs, which is pretty generous in today’s league. I would count on Gore for some solid numbers.
WR’s I like in Week 9:
1. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (@Houston Texans): Last week, Maclin put up an incredible game. He managed 187 yards on 12 receptions, and hauled in two touchdowns. That got him 30 fantasy points. That’s pretty amazing for a wide receiver. He was up against the Arizona Cardinals, who have given up the most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks this year (302 average yards per game). This week, Maclin is pitted up against a Houston secondary that has given up an average of 271 passing yards per game this year, putting them at number five on that list. I’d expect Maclin to provide at least solid numbers this week.
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens): Don’t let Brown’s somewhat mediocre previous meeting with the Ravens fool you. Last week, he had a monster game against the Colts, putting up 133 yards on 13 receptions, and hauling in two touchdowns. The Ravens have given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing receivers so far this year, and Brown is poised to have a career high season in multiple statistics (he already has 852 yards in just eight games, and seven touchdowns). Brown is worthy of a WR1 spot this week.
TE’s I like in Week 9:
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets): The Jets are just a problem team. They’ve given up an average of 10.6 fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this year, and Kelce is not a tight end to be looked over. Against a formidable New England secondary in week four, Kelce manages 15 points, which is pretty good for a lesser known tight end. If you don’t have any other obvious options, I’d give Kelce a try.
2. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos (@New England Patriots): In what may be the biggest quarterback matchup that we’ve seen in a while, Peyton Manning is going to be looking for any and every option on the field. Including his star tight end Julius Thomas. Thomas has been subpar over the past two weeks, only racking up four total points, but I believe he’s going to show up for this game regardless. I’d count on Thomas for a good, solid amount of points this week.
–Taylor Lust, contributor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu

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