Darren Sproles: Week 1 Fantasy Football Bust?

By Dustin Manko
Darren Sproles
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start by stating that I love New Orleans Saints all-purpose threat Darren Sproles. I draft him in as many fantasy leagues as possible. He has turbo speed, is shifty, plays in a high-powered offense, and has both kick and punt return duties. What’s not to love?

The Atlanta Falcons visit the Saints this Sunday in a game that could realistically post 80 points, but will Sproles struggle? Some “experts” are claiming that Sproles will be a Week 1 bust. I have to assume that these “experts” play in leagues where special team return yards are not counted towards the individual’s stat line. The return game is where Sproles is arguably the most dangerous.

Sproles is locked in as both the punt and kick returner for the Saints. The Falcons were the top team in the NFL in 2012 in both kick and punt returns against, but Sproles has traditionally fared well against the Falcons in this area. The last time they played, Sproles destroyed the Falcons’ return squad to the tune of 146 yards, including a 92-yard return. He added another 89 yards and a score with the offense, finishing for a monster 235 all-purpose yards with that touchdown.

If your league rewards return points toward the individual stat line, Sproles won’t disappoint. If it doesn’t and only counts production on yardage earned with the offense, you might want to reconsider Sproles as a starter this week. When you subtract the return duties from Sproles and focus only on what he did with the offense, you see a different picture.

Sure that performance was solid, but in the other two games Sproles played against the Falcons, he managed a paltry 47 yards on five receptions and zero contribution to the running game in one, and four receptions for two yards and two rushes for one yard in the other. When you also add in the Saints looking to get touches for Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, Sproles’ role in the offense seems to look a bit shaky.

So is he a Week 1 bust? It really depends on how your league’s scoring is set up.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2013/09/05/2013-fantasy-football-preview-baltimore-ravens-at-denver-broncos/

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