Sproles Stars in Wild Card Weekend

Darren Sproles accounted for 328 yards of offense for the Chargers.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For those still in leagues which continue throughout the playoffs, the Wild Card Weekend went off about as expected.

Peyton Manning (23 fantasy points) and Kurt Warner (20 points) threw the ball to their favorite targets Reggie Wayne (23 points) and Larry Fitzgerald (21 points), Adrian Peterson (18 points) ran the ball and scored twice and if you had read my "Start Them - Sit Them" piece last Friday, you knew to start Darren Sproles and avoid LaDainian Tomlinson (8 points).

Sproles was magnificent in the starring role.

As the "understudy" for Tomlinson after Michael Turner jumped at a free agent offer to go to Atlanta in the offseason, Sproles had put together a solid resume. He had 61 rushes for 330 yards (5.4 average) and another 342 yards on 29 receptions (11.8 average). The former Kansas State running back also amassed 1,623 yards in punt and kickoff returns. He scored a total of seven touchdowns in 2008 (one rushing, five receiving, one kickoff return).

But on Saturday night, with Tomlinson still nursing a groin injury, Sproles became the "star of the show." Tomlinson tried to make a go of it, starting the game and carrying the ball five times for 25 yards and a score, but it was obvious that he couldn't make any sharp cuts.

Enter Sproles.

With Rivers struggling against a tough Indianapolis Colts pass defense (they set a record for fewest TD passes yielded in a 16-game season - 6), the Chargers were dependent on Sproles and he came through with 150 combined yards from scrimmage and two scores - worth 30 fantasy points. He added three punt returns for 72 yards and four kickoff returns for 106 yards adding another seven fantasy points for those in return leagues.

If you're counting, that's 328 yards of offense for the diminutive running back. And a 37-point night from your No.2 running back which most likely gave you the Wild Card Weekend win.

I expect Tomlinson to sit or play just a few down in next week's contest, but don't look for Sproles to have the same kind of success against the No.1-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers defense. They are yielding just 80.2 ypg. and have given up just seven rushing TDs all season.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.
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