Darren Sproles: Fantasy Owners Should Start Saints RB vs. 49ers in Week 12

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent INovember 25, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 16:  Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fantasy owners should start New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles in Week 12 even though he is facing a tough matchup against the strong San Francisco 49ers defense.

The Saints updated us on Sproles' injury status via Twitter on Friday:

Darren Sproles (hand) is probable for Sunday #SFvsNO

— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 23, 2012

Against the talented pass rush of the 49ers, which includes star linebacker Aldon Smith (who had 5.5 sacks last week), Saints quarterback Drew Brees will not have a lot of time to throw the football downfield to players such as tight end Jimmy Graham and star receiver Marques Colston.

This means that Sproles will likely receive a lot of targets as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield when Brees has to check down to his running backs.

Another effective way to combat a good pass rush is to run screen plays, and few running backs are better at these types of plays than Sproles because of his intelligence, quickness and vision.

Sproles has 39 receptions this season with an 8.3 yards-per-catch average. He also has four receiving touchdowns, which is an impressive number for a running back.

Fantasy owners who are rewarded with points from return yards and touchdowns in their league should also benefit from Sproles this week. He can be expected to return a few kicks on Sunday.

Sproles hasn't played in November yet, so he should be well-rested and ready for this important game versus the 49ers.

Fantasy owners who don't have many options at running back or at the flex spot on their team should consider starting Sproles in Week 12. Brees trusts Sproles and should target him early and often against San Francisco.