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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Alvin Kamara No. 3

Alvin Kamara comes in at No. 3 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

 Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs with the ball against Danny Trevathan #59 of the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 10, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sure-things don’t exist, but New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is about as close as it gets. Kamara does it all, catching the ball as well as any wide receiver and breaking ankles out of the backfield. That’s why he’s No 3 in our fantasy rankings this season, and he’ll be one of the first names off the board in almost every fantasy league there is.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 3, Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints, RB

We’re shortchanging Kamara by calling him a running back. Sure, that is technically the position he plays, but this is no run of the mill ground-and-pounder. Kamara caught 83 passes on 107 targets last season, accumulating 756 yards and five touchdowns. He had his best season ever on the ground, rushing for 932 yards and 16 touchdowns on 187 carries. Already the centerpiece of the Saints offense, his role could be even bigger this season.

Competition for touches

Kamara led the team in all of the receiving categories last season with Michael Thomas out much of the season. Thomas is going to miss some time to start this season too, which means more work for Kamara in the passing game. If the team leans on him more as a receiver, he could see some of his rushing attempts farmed out to Latavius Murray or camp sensation Tony Jones, but he’s just too good with the ball in his hands to limit his workload too much.

Team offensive expectations

With Jameis Winston at quarterback and Thomas on the shelf, New Orleans’ offense is a bit of a mystery heading into the season. Fortunately, that doesn’t change much for Kamara’s place in the system; he’s going to get the ball a lot.

What’s his upside?

Last year was a career year, but Kamara is capable of doing more as a receiver. He’s so difficult to matchup against, something reflected in his 59 broken tackles last season.

What’s his downside?

The downside is that he could lose carries in the running game, especially if Jones gets rolling in the regular season.

Projection

170 carries, 820 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns; 89 receptions, 800 receiving yards, four touchdowns