Darren Sproles: Week Two Value Play

Part of the research process each week should include taking a look at snap counts and percentages from the previous week. Most of the time, using a skill position (RB/WR/TE) player with a healthy amount of opportunities is the way to go. In cash game contests, many people reasonably choose to go with workhorse RBs due to there being more opportunities for the player to carry the ball. Last week, the RBs who played the largest percentage of their respective team’s snaps were Matt Forte (90 percent), DeAngelo Williams (84 percent), Benny Cunningham (83 percent) and Marshawn Lynch (81 percent). All four of these players registered at least 15.40 fantasy points, Forte’s 30.60 points ranking second among all backs (Carlos Hyde and his 75 percent of snaps played ranked first).

Even after saying all of that, backs who do not play a large chunk of snaps are also viable in FantasyDraft.com’s scoring format. These players have to possess a specific skill set in order to warrant consideration. With the NFL morphing more and more into a passing league with the rule changes and offensive philosophies, many teams carry a ”passing down back” or “scat back,” whom they choose to deploy in certain situations. Last week, Danny Woodhead scored 22.20 fantasy points in that very role, although he received six carries in the red zone. The back I’m going to recommend for this week likely won’t see those type of impact carries, but he should be involved enough in the passing game to provide sneaky value: Darren Sproles.

If you used Sproles last week in the projected highest-scoring game of the week according to Vegas, you would have earned 19.60 fantasy points from a punt option. This week he is priced at $6,800 yet again, and there are still plenty of reasons to believe he’ll succeed. Look, he only played in 34 percent of the team’s snaps, which ranked 44th among backs. However, this isn’t a knock on him like it would be for most backup RBs. When Sproles enters the huddle in this Chip Kelly offense, it is for a reason. Either he will end up acting as a decoy or the team will attempt to get him the ball in some fashion. He’s too small to really be relied on for pass blocking, so he spends most of his time receiving handoffs or running routes when he’s in the game. This is the reason he ranked top-10 last season in fantasy points per opportunity (carries plus pass routes). Essentially, he makes the most out of his limited opportunities, especially in PPR because he catches a ton of passes (40 receptions (REC) ranked 14th in NFL last season and he missed a game). The question with the Eagles scat back is when to deploy him, and that typically is a difficult question to answer.

Let me answer that question for you this week: you want to use him against the Cowboys. Last week Sam Bradford and the Eagles offense overall relied on the short passing game. Sam Bradford, he of the NFL’s fastest-paced offense, only averaged 6.46 yards per pass attempt or 21st among QBs. Most of his passes were dinks and dunks, which is part of what makes the offense go. Even though the Eagles managed 24 points, Bradford’s performance ranked as average, according to ProFootballFocus. He hasn’t developed chemistry yet with the receivers, which bodes well for the backs. Sproles’ speed allows the team to drop it off to him so he can go make a play. Considering the Cowboys lost Dez Bryant, they may have to do the same and the game plan for both teams may be similar. With tons of plays and tons of passing in this game, Sproles will likely see another nine targets or so like he received against Atlanta. You’d be hard-pressed to find a value RB in a better spot to succeed in week number two.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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