Alvin Kamara Fantasy Football | Who Will Lead the Saints Backfield in 2023?

by Aaron St. Denis · Draft Strategy

The following contrived dichotomy (scheduled for one fall?) is to determine which of these two players we should be drafting to our fantasy football redraft teams, all else being equal. The match is a no-disqualifications match and rumors are that a mystery third man may interrupt the match and take a shot at the title himself. Introducing first, in the RED CORNER: hailing from the New Orleans Saints after being trained in Tennessee, standing 5-10, and weighing in at 215-pounds: Champion Alvin Kamara. His opponent, in the BLUE CORNER: hailing from the New Orleans Saints after defecting from Detroit, standing in at 6-0, and weighing in at 212-pounds: Challenger Jamaal Williams. The essential question is will Alvin Kamara be on the field for fantasy gamers in 2023?

The Tale of the Tape 

Champion Alvin Kamara and Challenger Jamaal Williams are being picked at similar ADPs in redraft leagues, going about ten picks apart at the 8/9 turn. Kamara’s current ADP is 101.48 while Williams’ current ADP is 111.45.

If you have drafted a team recently and didn’t secure an early running back, you may be in a position now where you are priced into drafting one of these two risky running backs. However, the risk may be worth the reward. Both of these running backs have loads of potential. So, do you take the earlier of the two in the Kamara who is currently embroiled in legal issues? Or do you pass on him in favor of his cheaper backfield mate?

FFPC Leagues

The disparity in ADP is much larger in FFPC Best Ball, where Kamara is going 20 picks sooner than Williams. Kamara’s current ADP is 91.42 at FFPC, while Williams’ ADP is 111.58. This is particularly surprising given the fact that Williams led the NFL in touchdowns last season. Additionally, we all know that Kamara has a potentially large suspension looming in his immediate future.

FFPC Best Ball ADP From May 2023

In Underdog drafts, Kamara’s ADP is 99.0 and Williams’ is 127.3. This is where the widest disparity exists among the platforms so far this season.

Underdog Best Ball ADP from May 2023

Regardless of which format or platform you draft on, these two players are going in the middle rounds and will not come at a premium cost.

So the question is: if the draft gets to me in the middle rounds, and I need a running back, do I pay up for Kamara? Or should fantasy gamers hold off a couple of rounds for the cheaper touchdown vulture Williams?

Alvin Kamara

Coming out of the 2017 draft class, what seems like ages ago, Kamara was viewed as a Day 2 pick due to some character concerns at the collegiate level. He ran a 4.56 40-Yard Dash which ranks in the 61st-percentile and his 5-10, 214-pound frame gave him a solid base for optimism. Kamara tested below average in agility, with an Agility Score of 115.9 in the 30th-percentile. Additionally, he checked in with a Speed Score of 99.0. This proved to be good for the 62nd-percentile.

Where Kamara truly set himself apart was his Burst Score. Kamara put up a score of 132.7. This ranked him in the 95th-percentile. This elite burst allowed Kamara to find his way into Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

Can the New Orleans Saints Offense Figure It Out Without Sean Payton or Is This a Sinking Ship?

Last year was Dennis Allen’s first season as the Saints’ head coach after the “retirement” of long-time coach Sean Payton. Despite having an elite defense, the Saints struggled heavily on offense and missed the playoffs. If they can right the ship with new starting quarterback Derek Carr, they could push the salary cap bill further down the line and make one more run at it. However, another season without the playoffs would likely signal a rebuild of this aging roster and would see many of it’s best pieces traded or released. This would include the star running back Kamara.

In 2022, Kamara finished with 233.10 Full PPR fantasy points, according to, which was good for RB16. He battled through injury which caused him to miss multiple games, but after all was said and done, he managed to average 14.05 points per game in full PPR. This is a solid mark by any standards. Kamara’s 233.10 points were the second lowest season total of his NFL career.

What Kind Of Impact Will the Criminal Case have on his 2023 season?

According to David Charns of, Kamara has been indicted by a Grand Jury and a punishment could be handed down this offseason. This is a major storyline to keep an eye on. If he manages to prolong the court proceedings, he may stay on the field just long enough to run it back one last time and be a fantasy stud in what could be his last season. Kamara has shown signs of decline due to age, however. When you combine that with the pending charges, it is not unreasonable to assume that this could be the Swan’s Song for Kamara if he manages to play the full 2023 season.

The Bottom Line: If Kamara Plays, You Play Kamara

The Saint’s offense is attempting to reboot on the fly with the signing of Derek Carr. If Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Chris Olave are all able to stay healthy and available it could be a potent offence resembling that of the Payton/Brees era. The bottom line is if Kamara doesn’t miss prolonged time due to injury or suspension you draft him at this price. He has simply been too good for too long to pass up.

Jamaal Williams

Williams came into the NFL in that same 2017 NFL Draft class. Much like Kamara, Williams was only projected to be a middle-round pick. Williams was nowhere near the talent that Kamara was coming out of BYU but was viewed as a better character guy despite his athletic limitations. He ran a 4.59 40-Yard Dash which ranks in the 50th-percentile. This is just slower than Kamara. Additionally, Williams ranked in the 49th-percentile in Speed Score with a 95.5.

The major difference between the two was that Williams followed up those mediocre scores with two disastrous scores. Williams scored 112.5 on the Burst Score and 11.78 on the Agility Score, good for the 21st-percentile and 14th-percentile respectively. This lack of high-end speed and explosiveness caused Williams to fall to Day 3 in the NFL Draft. He was selected by the Green Bay Packers with pick No. 28 in Round 4.

Will he Have the Same Role as in 2022?

Williams is by no means a well-rounded, three-down workhorse. He offers very little pass-catching upside. With the Lions, Williams was a between-the-20’s grinder. Had it not been for his goal-line touchdown parade, he would have been nothing more than a bye-week replacement for fantasy purposes. His 17 rushing touchdowns led the NFL and accounted for 41.1-percent of his total fantasy output. Williams is going to experience noticeable touchdown regression in 2023. It will bring him from a high-end RB2 to a borderline unusable flex RB.

His opportunity share last season with Detroit was 51.4-percent. This was despite D’Andre Swift missing significant time. In the situations where Williams was in line for a larger workload, the Lions employed a committee with third-stringer Craig Reynolds. Reynolds was arguably the more explosive of the two. While Williams out carried Kamara by a slim margin in 2022, his role in the passing game pales in comparison. He received a total of 16 targets compared to the 77 targets for Kamara. It’s just not a part of his game. Williams is a role player and a character guy. Unless he continues to score 1-yard touchdowns at an insane rate, he is not going to be a trustworthy fantasy asset.

The Bottom Line: He is Nothing More Than a Touchdown Dependent Flex Play

Fantasy managers who drafted Williams in the late rounds of 2022 drafts were likely over the moon with the production they got out of him. He was a high-end RB2 when he has been nothing more than a backup his entire career. Look for him to see his touchdown totals dry up and revert to the irrelevant running back he was in years past.

This backfield is now and always has been Alvin Kamara‘s. The difference in talent between the two is massive. Williams is going to get his usage, mainly to take the brutal, punishing between the 20’s touches off Kamara’s plate in an attempt to save him from the rapidly approaching age cliff. Kamara is going to dominate targets and will dominate the high-value touches. Williams is going to take all the pounding. Sure, Williams will vulture the odd touchdown. But barring an injury or lengthy suspension to Kamara, he is going to remain the Saints’ Champion.

A Mysterious Third Man Enters the Ring

Just as Alvin Kamara settles the score with challenger Jamaal Williams and pins him for the dramatic 1-2-3, a new challenger emerges… not out of the shadows, but out of the NFL Draft. That challenger, 21-year-old TCU star Kendre Miller.

Miller possesses almost identical size to Kamara, checking in at 5-11 and 215-pounds. Much like Kamara, the Saints used an early third-round pick to draft him. Miller was nursing a slight knee injury at the 2023 NFL Combine and thus was unable to test in most of the event. However, to anyone who watched him in college, it is clear that he has what it takes to be a workhorse at the NFL level. Don’t believe me? Check out this episode of The Mind of Mansion Podcast to see what The Podfather thinks about him.

Kendre Miller

Kendre Miller broke out at the age of 21 in the TCU offense. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that he had to go through highly recruited star running back Zach Evans to get there. Once the two were face to face it was obvious who the dominant back was. Evans was beaten so badly, he transferred to Ole Miss to get a fresh start. This is a likely scenario in New Orleans.

Alvin Kamara was once a top-three pick in fantasy football, but as his age increases and his efficiency decreases, he being to show vulnerability to rookie challengers. While Williams didn’t have to age or talent to supplant him as the starter, Miller has both.

For me, it’s a matter of how soon Miller seizes control of this starting job. If Kamara avoids suspension, Miller will have to work his way through a three-way committee before ultimately emerging as the best back of the group. However, if Kamara misses any length of time to start the season, he likely never gets his job back. The talent with Miller is simply too good. If Kamara opens the door through suspension or injury, Miller is going to come charging through and beat out Kamara for this job much like he did to Zach Evans.

Miller has that D.A.W.G. mentality and is going to do significant damage at the NFL level. Based on the current cost, he is my favorite back in the 2023 rookie drafts. Is a highly explosive and physical back available with a mid-second-round rookie pick? Yes please, I will take that all day and soon the Saints will be in the same boat as they hand over the title belt to the rookie.