2018 Fantasy Football Offseason: Boom and Zoom? Rhythm and Bruise? By any name, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara are stars
Jamey Eisenberg spoke with Saints standout running back duo Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, and both said their performance in 2017 was not a fluke.
Speaking to both Saints running backs on radio row for Super Bowl LII in Minnesota, Ingram and Kamara talked about the nickname given to them during their amazing 2017 campaign. The one that stuck -- for now -- was "Boom and Zoom."
It doesn't exactly stand out for this standout duo.
"They tagged us with the 'Boom and Zoom.' We're not really advocates of it," Ingram said. "We really need something better. We have way too much sauce for that name."
Added Kamara: "Our fan base gave us 'Boom and Zoom.' We like it, but we didn't love it. We're trying to find something. We'll find something eventually."
Maybe we can help.
After talking to both running backs about the nickname, I went to Twitter for some suggestions, which you can see here.
My favorite nickname among many good ones was "Rhythm and Bruise" from @dylbptel. It ties in the musical essence of New Orleans and is fitting for what Kamara and Ingram bring to the field. Hopefully, they'll like it, but you can pick your top choice -- and offer others -- from the mentions in that tweet.
We know Fantasy owners were thrilled with the way "Rhythm and Bruise" played in 2017, and they helped a lot of people win Fantasy titles. They expect to have a repeat performance this season.
Kamara was the No. 4 running back in standard leagues with 120 carries for 728 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns and 81 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns. And Ingram was No. 6 with 230 carries for 1,124 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns and 58 catches for 416 yards.
The individual success for both came as a surprise since last season began with Adrian Peterson on the roster. But once Peterson was traded to Arizona prior to Week 6, things took off for "Rhythm and Bruise."
Kamara scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in nine of his final 12 games, and he averaged 15.7 points after Peterson was traded, which includes missing most of Week 14 at Atlanta when he suffered a concussion in the first quarter. Ingram also had eight games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his final 12 outings, and he averaged 15.0 points over that span.
Saints coach Sean Payton said the "magic each week of putting the plan together" is making both happy, but he never really ran into an issue having to please Kamara or Ingram. They are great friends and generally root for the other to have success.
"We're like brothers off the field. That's my guy," Kamara said. "Just being able to have that bond off the field it helps us so much on the field because we want to see each other do well. We push each other and we're hard on each other and we're realistic with each other. If I'm not doing something right, he's going to tell me. If he's not doing something right, even though I'm younger, I'm going to tell him. It's respect both ways."
The Peterson trade really opened up things for Kamara. Through the first four games of the season, he had a combined 15 carries, and it looked like his focus would just come in the passing game since he had 20 catches prior to the bye in Week 5.
But he had at least eight carries a game 10 times in his final 12 outings while still averaging five catches a game over that span. It's hard to say his role would have increased if Peterson stayed on the roster.
Kamara, a third-round pick out of Tennessee, said things started to get easier for him as the season went on, and he said that started about seven games into the year.
"It definitely slowed down," Kamara said. "It got slower and slower as the season went on. As my touches increased, I just felt more and more comfortable."
Ingram also got off to a slow start in 2017 when he failed to score a touchdown through the first four games and was held to fewer than 60 rushing yards in each contest. But he returned to his bellcow role after Peterson was gone, and he averaged a touchdown per game from Week 6 on. He also had at least 74 rushing yards in eight of his final 12 outings.
Ingram also stayed relevant in the passing game despite the presence of Kamara. He has now gone three seasons in a row with at least 46 catches and has topped 50 catches twice over that span.
He said the thing that makes "Rhythm and Bruise" so successful is they can do everything asked of a running back on the field.
"We both can run the ball, catch the ball, run routes, pick up pass protection," Ingram said. "No matter what it is, we both can do it. We might do it differently, but we both get the job done effectively."
Payton wouldn't call it a luxury to have "Rhythm and Bruise" -- probably because of finding enough touches for each player -- but he knows their ability makes it tough on opponents.
"You want quality players at your positions, and I think we have two different backs in Mark and Alvin that compete real well," Payton said in an interview with CBS Sports at the NFL's annual league meeting. "They understand our game. There's some versatility to how they play. I think that's important. Both are highly competitive."
And now both have to prove they can repeat their 2017 success in 2018 in Fantasy and reality. There are certainly knocks on both guys, but they should be considered minor concerns.
For Ingram, he has to show he can hold off Kamara, who deserves a bigger role. And Kamara has to prove that his Fantasy production can be replicated despite just 201 total touches as a rookie.
I expect "Rhythm and Bruise" to be exceptional again in 2018, and I have Kamara ranked as the No. 8 running back in my early preseason standard rankings, with Ingram at No. 11. Both should be selected in the second round in the majority of leagues. In PPR, Kamara is No. 6, and Ingram is No. 9, and again both are second-round picks.
Ingram doesn't expect anything to slow down "Rhythm and Bruise" this year. In fact, he said they are the best running back duo in the NFL, which is hard to dispute after their performance last season.
"We always talk about being the best backfield in the NFL, pushing each other to be the best backfield in the NFL," Ingram said. "It was just crazy that we were able to have that kind of success together. We're looking to continue to build on that."
Maybe "Boom and Zoom" is the name that sticks. Or maybe it's "Rhythm and Bruise." Either way, we know Fantasy owners will be calling their name early on Draft Day this season, and we're expecting another standout campaign from the standout duo of Ingram and Kamara.
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