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Texans sign Mark Ingram: Fantasy football fallout for 2021

Veteran running back Mark Ingram landed with the Texans just before the start of the free-agency spending spree, but his outlook still presents causes for concern.

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram (21) runs with the ball as Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) attempts to make a tackle during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After two seasons helping the Baltimore Ravens produce one of the most dominant ground games in modern NFL history, Mark Ingram received his release as part of a league-wide cap crunch this offseason. He didn’t wait long for his next opportunity, landing with a Houston Texans team led by former Ravens assistant coach David Culley.

Mark Ingram signing: Fantasy football impact

Ingram’s new situation in Houston creates conflict for fantasy managers. On the one hand, Ingram could realistically see double-digit touches most weeks and avoid the inactive list when healthy. However, the Texans remain embroiled in a dispute with franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson that threatens to spill over into the season if management refuses to trade him. That, combined with a porous offensive line and a weak receiving corps, could severely limit Ingram’s upside even if he sees the lion’s share of the backfield work.

But even if the Texans resolve those issues, Ingram didn’t look like a starting-caliber running back in 2020, his age 31-season. His efficiency dropped by almost a full yard per carry and his touchdown production dropped from 15 to two. Some of the fault for that decline belongs to the Ravens’ offensive line, but Ingram doesn’t seem likely to receive better blocking in Houston.

All of which makes Ingram a dicey proposition for fantasy purposes. Someone has to take handoffs for the Texans, but that doesn’t mean those plays offer much upside given their current outlook.