Kerryon Johnson and Mark Ingram Fantasy Outlook Has High Upside With Week 1 Matchups

Dan Israeli
Carolina Panthers v Detroit Lions
Carolina Panthers v Detroit Lions / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While it's hard to predict how everything will shake out in Week 1 of the 2019 fantasy football season, there are several players with very exploitable matchups based on 2018 season statistics. Two running backs with arguably the best outlooks in Week 1 are Kerryon Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Mark Ingram of the Baltimore Ravens.

Kerryon Johnson Fantasy Outlook

Johnson draws arguably the juiciest matchup in Week 1 against the Cardinals, who in addition to yielding the most rushing yards last season, also gave up the most overall fantasy points to opposing running backs. Arizona's defense will be without its top two corners, in Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford, increasing the likelihood of Detroit jumping out to a big lead and riding Johnson heavily when the game gets out of hand.

In his 2018 rookie season, Johnson impressed with 5.4 yards per carry and also managed 32 receptions in 10 games. An injury cut his season short, but Johnson was starting to work his way into a big role as the season progressed. With a larger emphasis on the run game this year, thanks to new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Johnson may be in store for a breakout year in 2019, which can get off to a very hot start Week 1 in the desert.

Mark Ingram Fantasy Outlook

Ingram, on the other hand, will be making his Ravens debut against the Dolphins, in a game where Baltimore is a road favorite. Ingram has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his career, and is joining a Ravens rushing attack that is positively impacted by quarterback Lamar Jackson's ability to run the ball. Gus Edwards managed 5.2 yards per carry last season thanks to playing behind Lamar, and Ingram has proven to be a more capable and versatile runner than Edwards.

The Dolphins gave up the fifth most fantasy points to running backs last season, and will be arguably worse this year as the team appears to be in full tank mode for 2019. Ingram should be the lead back in this game, despite a report from offensive coordinator Greg Roman that "everybody is going to contribute" in the Ravens backfield.

Johnson will also draw some committee competition from C.J. Anderson, but as the two lead backs on their respective teams, with phenomenal matchups in Week 1, both Johnson and Ingram are high-upside plays this weekend.

Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.