Darren Sproles is expected to play his usual role for the Eagles this season as a pass-catching running back and contributor on special teams. New teammate LeGarrette Blount should handle the rushing downs, but you know what to expect from Sproles by now. In 2016, he was the No. 31 running back in standard leagues with 94 carries for 438 yards and two touchdowns and 52 catches for 427 yards and two touchdowns. This is the fifth time in his career he's had at least 800 total yards and four touchdowns and the sixth time he's had at least 50 catches. He's 34, but Sproles has shown no signs of slowing down and continues to thrive in his role. The problem for Fantasy owners, especially in standard leagues, is knowing when to use him. He should be viewed as a No. 4 Fantasy running back in standard formats with a late-round pick, and he's a No. 3 option in PPR with a mid-round selection. He's a better player for the Eagles than Fantasy owners, but he's still useful in deeper formats. And don't worry about the addition of rookie Donnel Pumphrey, who appears to be a younger version of Sproles. Pumphrey is likely to make more of an impact in 2018 than this season as long as Sproles is healthy.
Sproles isn't expected to play in Thursday's preseason contest against the Bills, Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Sproles is a known entity in the Eagles offense, so he'll yield the floor to newcomer LeGarrette Blount and 2017 fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey in preseason Week 2. Meanwhile, Wendell Smallwood's availability is dependent on a hamstring injury, leaving the latter stages of the game to the undrafted players (Corey Clement and Byron Marshall) in the backfield.
Sproles fits 'everywhere and nowhere' in the Eagles' offense this year, Dave Spadaro of the Eagles' official site reports. The diminutive back will almost certainly experience a decline from his 146 touches in 2016 due to the arrival of other weapons, such as Alshon Jeffery, Torry Smith and LeGarrette Blount. Yet Sproles could still have a major impact on the offense due to his ability to create mismatches and big plays against defenses that will have to divide their attention elsewhere. He likely won't run as much as he has the past two years in Philadelphia due to the addition of Blount and the continued development of Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), but he could see an uptick in receiving yards while catching screens out of the backfield behind a potentially dominant offensive line.
Sproles returned to OTAs on Monday after missing last week with a family obligation, Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The veteran speedster returns to the practice field this week and should compete for first-team reps with newly acquired LeGarrette Blount, who also missed some time last week due to family obligations.
Sproles was absent from practice Tuesday due to a family obligation, Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The newly signed LeGarrette Blount is also absent with a family obligation, so the Eagles are currently down two tailbacks for the second week of OTAs. Expect Sproles, who is expected to once again serve his regular scatback role, to return to the team once his obligations are taking care of.
In a press conference from the NFL Combine on Wednesday, March 1, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Sproles will return to the Eagles in 2017. Sproles entered last season as the club's change-of-pace back but became Pederson's most-trusted option in the ground game as the year wore on, as evidenced by him earning 45 percent of the offensive snaps, versus 25 percent for Ryan Mathews (neck). With the oft-injured Mathews perhaps on the way out of Philadelphia, the team will look to bring in additional talent to the backfield via the draft or free agency. However, with bigger needs elsewhere on the roster, the Eagles could end up using Wendell Smallwood (knee) as their primary ball carrier in the upcoming campaign. Either way, Sproles will probably be slotted in the same scatback role that he occupied at the beginning of this past season. He finished 2016 with 438 yards on 94 carries and added 427 more yards on 52 receptions. He also scored two touchdowns each on the ground and through the air.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/17||@Kansas City Chiefs||17||17.59|
|3||09/24||New York Giants||7||14.88|
|4||10/01||@Los Angeles Chargers||26||19.88|
|8||10/29||San Francisco 49ers||32||27.13|
|14||12/10||@Los Angeles Rams||14||16.63|
|15||12/17||@New York Giants||7||14.88|
|3 Year Avg||78||361||4||49||401||1||106|