Darren Sproles: Realistic Fantasy Expectations for Saints RB in Week 11

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 18, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 07:  Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints misses a catch during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles may be returning from a broken hand that has kept him out of the last two games, but don't expect the shifty playmaker to light up the stat sheet this weekend against the Oakland Raiders.

UPDATE: Sunday, November 18 at 1:13 p.m. ET

FOX Sports' Jay Glazer is now reporting that Darren Sproles will be inactive today, so it is best that fantasy owners remove Sproles from their lineups immediately.

Darren Sproles, barring a very surprising, sudden change in thinking, will be DEACTIVATED later today to give that wrist one more wk to rest

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) November 18, 2012

---End of Update---

There's no doubting Sproles and his influence on this team. He's a perfect fit for the Drew Brees system and is yet another powerful weapon for an offense that doesn't lack much in the entertainment department.

But a banged-up running back hurrying back from injury is never a good gamble.

Sproles is certainly useful for this offense and is worth rushing back to play, especially as the Saints still fight to return to a .500 record after opening the season with four straight losses. But that doesn't mean that he'll be a viable fantasy option heading into Week 11.

With just 26 carries for 117 yards, Sproles hasn't exactly been the focal point of the New Orleans rushing game. 

His receiving numbers are considerably stronger, as he has 39 catches for 323 yards and four scores. But a hand injury makes you wonder how effective he will be catching the ball and if Brees will think twice to target him with many other formidable receivers running routes. 

Even though his pass-catching numbers look solid, Sproles still hasn't had the type of season that we expected in 2012. 

The Saints face a struggling Oakland Raiders team on Sunday, which may explain why Joe Vitt and the coaching staff is hurrying Sproles back. While the Raiders are very beatable, they're no pushover and having a weapon like Sproles available could make or break the Saints' chances of winning.

But the likelihood of Sproles making a big impact in this game is slim. As he's still banged up, New Orleans will be looking to use the small and speedy playmaker sparingly. If Brees gets the offense going early and puts this one out of reach, Sproles could be riding the bench for much of this one.

A playmaker of Sproles' caliber is always worth considering in fantasy, as he can take it to the house on any given play. If your team offers no viable backup options for you, starting Sproles wouldn't be a bone-headed move.

Don't go searching the waiver wire to replace Sproles. But it shouldn't be hard to find a player on your bench who will have a bigger week than the Saints running back.


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