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2024 New Orleans Saints Fantasy Football Primer: Running Backs

An early look at the running backs for the New Orleans Saints with Alvin Kamara and Kendre Miller as leading candidates for fantasy success.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Doesn’t seem to matter what they do, it’s always number two in the New Orleans Saints running back room. And in an Alvin Kamara World, it’s up to new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak to help shape the hierarchy of the depth chart for the Saints running backs, especially for fantasy football managers. The task he has is no easy one in bolstering a Saints offense that ranked 14th in total offense in 2023 but only 21st in total rushing offense.

But Kubiak, a product of the increasingly famous Kyle Shanahan coaching tree, is bringing new concepts that Head Coach Dennis Allen hopes will evolve the Saints into a 21st-century offense. But with no additions to the running back room, improving the running game will fall on a pair of declining running backs in Kamara and Jamaal Williams and an intriguing second-year player in Kendre Miller. For fantasy owners, it’s just Ken(dre) that they hope takes the leap into that second chair.

2024 New Orleans Saints Fantasy Football Primer: Running Backs Room

Alvin Kamara

All signs point towards another year of Kamara being the lead dog in the Saints’ backfield. But Kamara’s efficiency is declining and at this point in his career, his greatest asset is his pass-catching. The vet brings pass-catching chops in spades with 75 receptions last season. What he doesn’t bring is signs that the durability is what it used to be. According to Player Profiler, Kamara was only on the field for 49.8% of snaps last season.

Yet he still was targeted 87 times, second among running backs, but logged only 466 receiving yards. His 6.2 yards per reception were only 26th at the position. Yet, Kamara still had elite usage with a 19.2% target share (2nd at position) and 1.73 yards per route run (4th at position).

But the explosion Kamara was formerly famous for wasn’t there. His 3.3% breakaway rate was 40th among running backs and his 14.9% juke rate was 46th. Translation? The things that once made Kamara special are slipping away from him and any hopes of another successful fantasy season are purely volume-based.

Jamaal Williams

If Kamara is slipping, Williams has fallen and can’t get up.

He’s coming off of a career-worst 2.9 yards per carry performance in 2023. His rushing touchdowns? Down to one, famously during the Great Winston Mutiny of Week 18, from 17 in 2022. Yet, Williams heads into the 2023 season still on the roster. However, following last season’s poor performance and his being a poor fit into Kubiak’s mean that someone has to assume the second chair. With Kamara being a juiced-up receiving back and Williams being a below-average plodder, here enters our third option.

Kendre Miller

Size, speed, youth and intrigue. For redraft and dynasty players alike, it’s the perfect storm for the type of player all owners want to draft.

It’s the Kendre Miller profile. One we all want to fall in love with and embrace. With the Shanahan system implanted in NOLA, it usually means a change-of-pace to drive the nail home.

That could be Miller, who when healthy flashed the sort of upside fantasy players crave. Whether it was his finishing at RB16 on a 27% snap share against New England or his RB13 finish on 26% of snaps, when Miller was healthy and utilized he delivered. San Francisco famously used Christian McCaffrey as its bell cow back. But, the only person capable of that on New Orleans’ roster is Miller. That can’t be expected.

However, if Miller simply doubles his snap share he’d be on the field for 27% of snaps in 2024. Remember his spike weeks? They came in two of the three games in which Miller saw greater than 25% of snaps. If Miller sees the field more in 2024, his athleticism leads him to be a likely candidate to outperform his mid-round ADP.

Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


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