The New Orleans Saints will be missing a big part of their offense on Monday after running back Darren Sproles underwent surgery to repair a broken hand. The Saints plan to “re-evaluate” him next week.
— Mike Triplett (@TripTP) November 2, 2012
With Sproles out, Pierre Thomas will undoubtedly see a huge increase in touches over the duration of the injury. On the season, Thomas has rushed for a team-high 257 yards on 58 carries to go along with 145 yard receiving.
According to Mike Clay, Sproles has lined up in the backfield this season on 68 percent of snaps, 24 percent as a slot receiver and eight percent as a wide out. All four of his touchdowns have come via the air, so replacing him in the running game is not the main concern. Sproles is second on the team in receptions behind Marques Colston, so quarterback Drew Brees will have a different look on the offensive side come Monday.
Mark Ingram, who is owed in 59.1 percent of ESPN leagues and 22 percent of Yahoo leagues, doesn’t play a similar style to that of Sproles, so picking him up as the backup to Thomas may only get you a few carries. On the season, Ingram has struggled to regain his form of 2011, when he rushed for 474 yards, an average of 3.9 yards per carry. This year he has averaged only 2.9 yards per rush, and his longest run has gone for only 12 yards.
The Saints offense will likely suffer Monday with the loss of Sproles, but the return game is in trouble as well, as he averages 28.7 yards per kick return and 6.6 yards per punt return in 2012.