Fantasy

Tomlinson versus Sproles in Week 3

Should you start an injured Ladainian Tomlinson (left) or a healthy Darren Sproles?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You have done everything right to date. You drafted running back Ladainian Tomlinson and then with a late-round pick you selected his backup on the San Diego Chargers roster - Darren Sproles.

And drafting the young former Kansas State star appears to have paid dividends when late in the season opener "LT" suffered an injury to his toe.

Now comes the hard part...do you start the injured All-Pro Tomlinson or the healthy backup in Sproles?

The news all week has not been encouraging for Tomlinson owners as the star didn't take part in practice on Wednesday or Thursday.

He was on the field by Friday but the local paper, the The San Diego Union- Tribune, reported that Tomlinson "is expected to be limited Monday against the New York Jets."

Tomlinson himself seemed a little "down" when he said after Friday's practice - "It definitely is a lot better than last week. That's the exciting part about it. But at that same time, I'm going to be realistic about it. I'm pretty sure on Monday, I'll probably still have a little problem with it, but it will be a week better."

Tomlinson practiced again on Saturday and it looks as if he will start. But the question is how long will the toe hold up?

That is the key question for fantasy owners.

My best guess is that although the toe is getting better, that "LT" will post similar numbers to Week 2. That means about 10-12 touches both running and receiving. A dozen touches puts a top end to Tomlinson's performance at around 50-60 yards and one TD at most. Is 5-12 points enough for you to win your week's matchup?

If the answer is yes, then look no further.

If the answer is negative than you must move Sproles into your lineup.

The 5'6" speedster has a greater upside on Monday night. Substituting for Tomlinson last week in a 39-38 loss to the Denver Broncos, Sproles combined for 128 yards and a score from scrimmage. He also had a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a total of 192 yards returning five kicks. For those in leagues where return yards count, he is a must start.

And for those who need a 20-point day to win the week, Sproles is your only true option

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