By Meng Song @ms0ng on April 23, 2014
The New Orleans Saints traded RB Darren Sproles to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round draft pick this offseason. That leaves the Saints with Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson, and that is also the definition of a messy backfield for fantasy football players. Let’s take a look at each RB and his chances of succeeding for New Orleans and for your fantasy team in 2014.
Darren Sproles has always been utilized as more of a receiving threat than a true runner, ending 2013 with 220 yards rushing, 604 yards receiving and four total TDs. With Sproles gone, his work will be split out to the rest of the Saints RBs. Much like Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, the Saints RBs have an advantage with an elite QB under center. Let’s break down the four candidates.
Pierre Thomas had over 500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving last season along with five total TDs, taking over for Sproles as the lead back. I expect Thomas to be the lead back again this year. His pass catching abilities give Drew Brees his safety valve, and he is even more valuable in PPR, having grabbed 77 receptions in 2013. He’s the primary Saints RB that I want in fantasy.
Mark Ingram is the opposite. He only caught seven balls last year and is more of a power back. The problem is that I don’t think he’s very good, and Sean Payton doesn’t run a whole lot. Ingram has good burst off the line, but he has poor vision and doesn’t have great speed. It could also be Ingram’s last year in New Orleans, so I’m not expecting much. He’s a flex play at best and won’t be on any of my teams next year.
Who? Travaris Cadet has been a Saint since 2012, but he’s only played a few snaps on offense and contributed to special teams. The only reason I bring him up is because when Sean Payton was interviewed about replacing Darren Sproles, he responded by saying that “Cadet is a player who has played in that role.” It’s important to note because it comes directly from Payton, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not touching Cadet in the draft.
I love me some Khiry Robinson. He didn’t play a ton in 2013, but he started getting some usage late last season. Robinson was trusted with 13 carries against the Seattle Seahawks in the postseason and did surprisingly well. Bill Parcells even compared Robinson to Curtis Martin. He’s got immense talent, but he needs the right situation. Draft him late as a flier, but he’s not a fantasy starter until we see more usage.
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