Fantasy Football Week 11: Running Back Roulette in New Orleans

By Dan Freeman
New Orleans Saints
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

One of the things we hate most in fantasy football is a timeshare in a backfield. Nothing’s more frustrating than seeing your running back jogging on and off the field every couple of plays, leaving you virtually clueless as to what you can expect from that player. Unfortunately, the committee approach seems to be popular with lots of coaches nowadays, making the few workhorse running backs in the league even more valuable.

One of the timeshares causing headaches right now is that of the New Orleans Saints. It’s almost impossible to predict who will be in the backfield for the Saints on any given play. Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are both getting their fair share of snaps, and to make matters worse, they’ve both been used in the red zone at different times.

Working in their favor, however, is the fact that the Saints boast one of the most lethal offenses in the league. Stacked with weapons, they’re incredibly difficult to stop and they wind up having the ball way more than their opponent in most games. That at least means that there are a ton of opportunities for each player to get the ball.

Occasionally, the division of playing time doesn’t even matter for the Saints’ backs. Take last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, for example. Thomas had a touchdown, Sproles had two and even Mark Ingram had one. Ingram was really only a factor because the Saints were crushing Dallas and didn’t need to ride their stars.

Still, the strong performance he turned in may have earned him some more carries going forward. Even if we factor Ingram out, Sproles and Thomas still wind up cancelling each other out most weeks.

The situation unfortunately leaves both of them as nothing more than flex options. Neither is a player you want to have to trust because each week their odds of a dud are just as good as their odds of a decent game. Ingram still isn’t worth a roster spot since we’ll chalk last week’s numbers up to nothing more than being in the right place at the right time.

If you own one of the other two, they should be the last options on your bench if you can help it. They’re both great players, but the uncertainty that comes with them makes them both too risky most of the time. The Saints’ backfield is one you should really try to avoid relying on.

Dan Freeman is a Fantasy football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DanFreeman88.

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