The New Orleans Saints are out to prove that last year was just a fluke, and they will begin that quest against one of the NFC’s elite clubs, the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Drew Brees knows his team has a lot to prove after last year’s debacle and underachievement that was the Saints’ final record.
With all of the talk about fantasy football and the implications this game will have on week one rosters, the hot topic has been the running backs in New Orleans. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles could all have a legitimate role in the offense, but which of those are worth starting in your league on a regular basis?
The Saints are said to be running the ball a lot more, starting with Thomas and Ingram. Specifically, Ingram, will be getting a bigger dose of carries as the Saints attempt to establish a run game first and foremost before getting a passing game going. As everyone knows, the running game can dictate how well or how poor the passing game turns out to be in any given game.
The odd man out may be Sproles. Of course, Sproles is not going to be a big factor in the running game and probably never will be. The area where Sproles has found success is in the screen game and in the slot as well. As a former Sproles owner myself, I constantly wondered last year how he continued to get his catches and turn them into fantasy points.
This year, I do not believe Sproles will be as utilized as he has been recently with the Saints. With younger wideouts Nick Toon and Kenny Stills emerging as options in the passing game along with starters Marques Colston and Lance Moore of course, Brees should be looking to his receivers more often than Sproles for the most part. Now, will Sproles occasionally break one? Absolutely. Will it be consistently? Probably not this year.
With that said, I would be very cautious as you think about starting Sproles this week — and throughout the season, for that matter. He is definitely a risk in most leagues. If you are in a league with a minimum of 12 teams, Sproles should be in your lineup. Otherwise, think twice.