Saints RB Darren Sproles: 2012 Fantasy Football Profile

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIIAugust 19, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Considering how few carries he had last season, Saints running back Darren Sproles still managed to be one of league's most productive fantasy running backs.

Not only did he not lead his own team in rush attempts, but he actually ranked third with only 87 carries. In fact, Chris Ivory trailed Sproles by only eight carries despite being active for only six games.

That said, Sproles made his carries count as he averaged 6.9 yards per attempt, which allowed him to also lead the team in yardage (603). Among qualified leaders, he led the NFL in yards per carry and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who ranked second in the league, was more than a yard per carry behind Sproles.

While he will never be a workhorse back or anything close to it, Sproles is most dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield.

Sproles is a fantasy starter in both standard and point-per-reception (PPR) formats, but he's much more valuable in PPR leagues.

No running back had more receptions (86) or targets (111) than Sproles. The only other running back to reach 80 targets was Baltimore's Ray Rice (104).

Posting career highs in rushing and receiving yards last year, Sproles ranked 15th among all running backs in yards from scrimmage (1,313).

Of the 25 backs that had at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage last year, Sproles ranked last among them in rushing yards but first in receiving yards (710). As you would expect, he was the only one of them with more receiving yards than rushing yards.

If your league rewards points for return yards, Sproles set the NFL record last year for all-purpose yards (2,696). He ranked sixth in the NFL in kickoff return average (27.2) and 15th in punt return average (10.1).


(Strength of) Schedule

Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed to running backs last year by all of the Saints' opponents this year, Sproles and the Saints' RBs have the sixth-most favorable schedule from a fantasy perspective. They also have the fifth-most favorable schedule in the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-16).


2012 Outlook

While Sproles is likely to rank third on the team in carries for a second straight year, he's likely to be the most productive back in both standard and PPR formats. Sproles is a low-end RB2 in standard-scoring leagues and high-end RB2 in PPR leagues.


Dynasty Outlook

At 29 years old, he's slightly better in redraft than dynasty formats. Considering he hasn't taken the pounding that an every-down back would have taken at his age, it should allow him to have several more productive years, especially within New Orleans' high-powered offense.


Projection: (Rushing) 495 Yards, 2 TDs; (Receiving) 80 Receptions, 705 Yards, 6 TDs