One of the best ways to have a good fantasy football draft is to avoid “landmine” picks. These are players who appear to be valuable before the season but fall off a cliff early in the year and don’t provide value to your fantasy team. It’s even worse when you select them early in the draft, especially when there are young talented players ready to feast on the starter’s job security.

Mark Ingram looks like a potential landmine this year.

Ingram’s Decline

Declines are hard to predict and often come out of nowhere. Take LeSean McCoy for example: he averaged at least 70 rushing yards per game for eight straight seasons. Last year, in his age-30 season, he averaged 36.7 rushing yards per game. Making matters worse, he was being selected in the third round of fantasy drafts.

Mark Ingram is entering his age-30 season this year. He was productive last year, but remember that the Saints have a history of making running backs look really good. That’s one of the reasons that fantasy owners are chasing Latavius Murray this year.

Running backs begin significantly declining after their age-27 season. Just 7.8 percent of peak seasons take place after the age of 29 – meaning 92.2 percent take place before the age of 30.

Will Ingram experience significant decline? Maybe, maybe not – but I wouldn’t risk a 4th round pick on it.

How To Play This Situation

The Ravens played a lot of running backs last season. Four running backs received at least 65 touches: Gus Edwards, Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon, and Javorius Allen. Ty Montgomery was also involved after coming over in a trade with the Packers.

Edwards, Collins, and Dixon played mainly in the rushing role. Edwards carried the ball 137 times but was targeted just twice. That’s pretty extreme, but like the Patriots, the roles are clear. Javorius Allen and Ty Montgomery were used mainly on passing downs.

If the running backs are splitting playing time, it’s going to be inherently difficult for one to have significant value. This year the Ravens will split the work between Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Kenneth Dixon.

With Javorius Allen and Ty Montgomery leaving in free agency, the Ravens selected Hill in the fourth round and Hill looks likely to be used in the pass-catching role. Remember, Hill was a good pass catcher in college and tore up the combine with his speed and leaping ability.

Hill also had production early in college. As a true freshman, Hill received more than twice as many carries as senior Chris Carson.

Player RuAtt RuYDs YPC TD Rec ReYds
Justice Hill 206 1142 5.5 6 5 46
Chris Carson 82 559 6.8 9 13 128

Producing that young is always a good sign. Hill also has some intriguing comps.

He’s a unique prospect but seeing names like Lamar Miller, Tevin Coleman, and Marlon Mack is favorable.

In Summary

Ingram is reaching an age that is very dangerous for running backs in fantasy football. There is a good likelihood that his ability begins to decline soon.

In recent years, the Ravens have used a two-back system – like many NFL teams. Ingram is likely to fill the rushing role but will likely come off the field on third downs. At his current cost, there is a lot of risk involved.

Exciting rookie Justice Hill comes with upside and significantly less risk. While Ingram is being drafted in the 4th round, Hill is being drafted in the 12th round.

If Hill’s college production doesn’t impress you, maybe his tape will.