Latavius Murray will replace Mark Ingram as Kamara's complement in the New Orleans backfield, ESPN.com's Mike Triplett reports. The team's willingness to accept a modest downgrade at a lower price is a sign of confidence in Kamara, who has yet to miss a game due to injury through two seasons. He more than held his own with an increased workload in 2018, averaging 4.6 yards on 194 carries and 8.8 yards on 81 catches -- good for 18.3 touches per game. While a modest workload increase for 2019 seems perfectly reasonable, it's quite clear the Saints don't want Kamara in the same range as Ezekiel Elliott (25.4 touches per game) or even Todd Gurley (22.5) and Saquon Barkley (22). Even so, Kamara's phenomenal per-touch production should keep him as an easy top-10 pick for 2019 fantasy drafts.
Kamara rushed just eight times for 15 yards but brought in 11 of 13 targets for 96 yards during the Saints' 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. He also recovered a fumble. Kamara accomplished next to nothing on the ground, but he ended up pacing the Saints in both receptions and receiving yards. The dynamic second-year back was much more potent in the first half, however, as Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips did a good job limiting his ability to get open looks out of the backfield over the final two quarters and overtime. The 2017 third-round pick finished the 2018 regular season with 18 total touchdowns (14 rushing, four receiving) and 1,592 total yards from scrimmage, while also adding 208 yards on returns. He'll undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the Saints attack once again in 2019.
Kamara rushed 16 times for 71 yards and brought in all four of his targets for 35 yards in the Saints' 20-14 divisional-round playoff win over the Eagles on Sunday. He also returned two kickoffs for 45 yards. Kamara finished with a solid final line after a slow start, and his afternoon would have been even bigger had his third-quarter 46-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Taysom Hill not been nullified by penalty. The versatile back was able to find more running room as the game went on, with no carry more important than his 12-yard scamper off right guard on third down with 1:03 remaining in the game and the Eagles out of timeouts. With what is likely to be a shootout against the Rams on tap for next Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Kamara will undoubtedly be poised for a pivotal role in New Orleans' plan of attack.
Kamara (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Panthers, John DeShazier of the Saints' official site reports. The Saints clinched the NFC's No. 1 seed in the postseason with a win over Pittsburgh last week, so the team will keep Kamara and quarterback Drew Brees inactive and is expected to rest several other key starters in a mostly meaningless regular-season finale. Kamara's absence clears the way for Mark Ingram to start, though it's possible he'll only play a series or two -- if at all -- before bowing out of the contest. Instead, third-stringer Dwayne Washington looks like a better candidate to pace the New Orleans backfield in snaps and touches.
Kamara ran for 23 yards on seven attempts, adding four receptions for 82 yards during Sunday's 31-28 win against the Steelers. Following a three-game scoreless streak between Weeks 12 and 14 (76.3 YPG during that span), Kamara has tallied three rushing touchdowns in wins over Pittsburgh and Carolina the past two weeks, racking up more than 100 yards from scrimmage in each of those outings. He entered Sunday's contest red hot as a pass catcher, with 20 catches over his past three games (compared to 19 combined receptions in six games prior). That trend continued as he picked up four-plus catches for the fourth straight game, piecing together his greatest receiving output since Week 3 -- against a Steelers defense that's been tremendous in containing backs coming out of the backfield. (Pittsburgh ranks among the NFL's six best teams in receptions and receiving yards allowed to the position.) With home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs wrapped up, Kamara may not see more than one or two offensive drives as New Orleans concludes the regular season playing host to a Panthers team that's dropped seven straight games, while surrendering 26.9 PPG during that span.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||@Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|5||10/06||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|11||11/17||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|14||12/08||San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||157||806||11||81||768||4||250|