Saints tailback Alvin Kamara was a fantasy football superstar his first two seasons but took a bit of a step back in 2019 as he wasn’t always healthy. Here are Kamara’s odds at Mybookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the 2020 regular season as well as his over/under yardage total.
Kamara was a very touted recruit out of high school and originally committed to Alabama but had some issues there and transferred to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. After one season, he went to Tennessee. The Saints took Kamara with the No. 67 overall pick in the 2017 draft and never would have expected he would become the star he has in the NFL. Kamara was the fifth running back taken behind Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon.
In 2017, Kamara was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. His 728 yards rushing and 826 yards receiving was the first 700/700 season by a Saint, third by an NFL rookie, and the 11th 700/800 season by any NFL player. His 81 receptions on the season were first among all rookies and second in the league among running backs behind Le’Veon Bell.
He racked up 14 total touchdowns (8 rush, 5 rec, 1 return) in the regular season, and added two during New Orleans’ postseason run. In doing so, Kamara joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (1965) as the only other rookie in league history to have at least five rushing TDs, five receiving TDs and a kickoff-return TD. Kamara’s 6.1 yards per carry led all running backs with at least 120 attempts.
In 2018, Kamara led the Saints in rushing with 194 carries for 883 yards (4.6 avg.) with 14 touchdowns and finished second on the team in receiving with 81 grabs for 709 yards and four touchdowns. Career-high 18 total touchdowns tied a team record and ranked second in the NFL. His 14 rushing touchdowns were a club-best all-time and ranked second in the league. His 1,592 total yards from scrimmage ranked seventh in the NFL.
Kamara joined Jimmy Graham (2013-14), Mark Ingram II (2016-17) and Joe Horn (2003-04) as only the third Saint with back-to-back seasons of double-digit TDs. Kamara was the only Saint to do so in his first two seasons.
Then last year, Kamara was limited to 14 games due to injury but led the Saints in rushing with 171 carries for 797 yards (4.7 avg.) with five touchdowns and finished second on the team in receiving with 81 grabs for 533 yards and one touchdown. With 1,330 total yards from scrimmage, Kamara became the first Saint to have at least 1,300 total yards from scrimmage in his first three seasons and joined Deuce McAllister (2002-04) as only the second Saint to reach the milestone in three straight campaigns.
Kamara became just the fourth NFL running back to amass 2,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards receiving in their first three seasons, joining Christian McCaffrey, Roger Craig and Herschel Walker. Kamara was named a Pro Bowler for the third year in a row. He did this despite playing through knee, ankle and back injuries last season and said he was probably only 75 percent healthy.
“His 75 percent is a lot of people’s 100 percent,” Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas told reporters. “That’s why he was playing through the injuries.”
Kamara is due a base salary of just $2.1 million this year and wants a huge new extension. He certainly deserves one. Over the course of his three years in the NFL, Kamara has rushed for 2,408 total yards and 27 touchdowns during the regular seasons. But his versatility becomes more apparent in his receiving numbers. In conjunction with his rushing yardage, Kamara has also completed 243 receptions for 2,068 total yards.
A potential deal for Kamara could look like a three-year, $37 million contract with $22.57 million in guarantees that wipes out his original 2020 salary. That would pay out an average salary of $12.3 million per year. If Kamara can remain healthy and productive, he would then be set up to test free agency in 2023 before his 28th birthday, still in his prime.
The Saints are 4-point home favorites for Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay.