Fantasy Football 2013: Is Darren Sproles Worth Keeping?

By Bill Pivetz
Darren Sproles
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Sproles has been a constant for fantasy owners, especially in PPR leagues. Since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2011, Sproles has had 161 receptions for 1,377 yards and 14 touchdowns. Listed as a running back, Sproles plays more of a tight end role, catching passes out of the backfield or just past the line of scrimmage.

With those ridiculous receiving stats, Sproles was ranked in the top-25 among running backs and was drafted between rounds five and six.

However, over the last three games (and five of the last seven), Sproles has not played like a top-20 running back. He has just 10 fantasy points, including a whopping zero last week. He did not record a carry and had four receptions for no yards as well. Sproles’ biggest game came in Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins where he had 142 total yards and two touchdowns. And yes, those are Sproles’ only touchdowns on the season.

Surprisingly though, Sproles is ranked as the 25th-best running back in ESPN standard leagues. He is still on pace to catch 80 passes for 800 yards, but his rushing numbers are nowhere near what we’ve expected. He’s been losing carries to Pierre Thomas and rookie Khiry Robinson.

Sproles’ production has become more erratic when compared to seasons past. With 52 fantasy points in seven games, Sproles could finish with around 118 points. However, that is highly unlikely with the emergence of Kenny Stills and interjections of the other running backs.

the Saints have a tough matchup in Week 9 against the New York Jets. The Jets allow only 11.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, fifth-best in the NFL.

Sproles is probably the third running back for most teams. As I mentioned, he’s ranked 25th with just 52 points. There are only 28 running backs with 50 or more fantasy points. On the flip side, there are 37 wide receivers with 50 or more. Because of Sproles’ inconsistencies, he is droppable for one of those receivers.

The running back position isn’t scoring like it used to (besides the top-tier guys). Receivers like Keenan Allen or Brian Hartline,  both owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues, could be good replacements for Sproles, especially with the fantasy playoffs just a few weeks away.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127 and connect with him on Google+.

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