Something special happened during Monday Night Football. It's amazing when one man can change an entire league with his skills and make his mark on a beloved pastime. He got plenty of congratulations and accolades, and he deserved them all.
I'm talking about Mark Ingram, of course.
Sure, Drew Brees broke a record, too. He's been pretty good throughout his career. But this is fantasy football, and Ingram is the one who made a real impact in your league Monday night.
If you've ever watched the WWE, imagine the Alvin Kamara owner in the ring, strutting past fantasy teams as they rack up wins. Nobody can stop them. Then the lights go down, and Mark Ingram's intro music starts. A few highlights, a few fireworks and the fantasy owner has a scared look on their face. They know something bad is coming.
Specifically, Ingram's return means the likely end of Madden-like stats for Kamara. For the first few weeks, the Saints have been happy to let him do the heavy lifting as a runner and receiver. The points flowed (and overflowed) and anyone who selected him rode the wave the first month of the season.
There's still a wave, but it's not a typhoon anymore. There's room for both players to be productive fantasy starters, of course. But the fantasy teams with Kamara don't look as indestructible as they did before. And they're not alone.
Le'Veon Bell wasn't suspended, but he took himself out of the game. Now, word is he'll be back shortly. That means James Conner owners won't get to enjoy a bonus weapon against their opponents for much longer. If teams relied on his stats to get themselves a few wins, adjustments will be necessary in just a couple weeks.
Jameis Winston is coming back. Julian Edelman adds another receiver to fantasy lineups. Players who weren't injured are showing up late to the NFL party, but their impact will be felt around your league. So if you need to change things up to get back on track, help might be on the way.
Hopefully you have a guy like Ingram or Bell or Edelman on your roster waiting to boost your starting lineup. But even if you don't, you could benefit from a shift of power in your league. Conner might still contribute, but he sure looks like a better start with Stevan Ridley pushing for carries instead of Bell. Winston likes to go to Mike Evans, but doesn't really spread the ball around in a FitzMagic-y way. And Kamara probably won't carry teams by himself anymore. That levels out the playing field a bit, and maybe keeps more teams in the playoff race going forward.
Of course, if you have Kamara or Conner, it's not a good development. If a division foe who was struggling now has Edelman, Ingram or Winston at their disposal, that complicates your path to glory. You knew it was coming and your team is probably still solid. But nobody likes to see a great party come to an end.
For everyone else, the party might be starting. After five weeks, patterns start emerging and things almost feel predictable. But now the cards have been shuffled a bit, and the season has a few new variables. Overall, that's probably good for your league.
You could tell that the Patriots look a little different with Edelman in the lineup. He might do the same for struggling fantasy lineups, especially in a PPR league. The Saints will make good use of Ingram's skill, and a fantasy team that needs wins might have him. We know what Bell has done, and Winston could easily become a starter for a playoff fantasy team. We don't know what will happen, but we know that there are new possibilities (and challenges) for many fantasy teams.
If things have been looking down for your team recently, don't despair. You might benefit from the influx of talent joining the 2018 cast. You might have a new starter in your lineup, or your rivals' lineups might look a little weaker. Maybe it will help, and maybe it won't. Kamara is still a star, and Conner might retain enough value to make a difference. Nothing is guaranteed. But returning players should add a few wrinkles to the fun, and that could benefit your team. Good luck this week.
Which returning players could make a difference for your fantasy team? Are you concerned about Kamara or Conner going forward? Share your thoughts below.