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Fantasy Football Week 3 Outlook: Pierre Thomas or Khiry Robinson?

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With the Saints number-one running back down for a month, after breaking his hand, which Saints halfback is going to pick up the slack of Mark Ingram's 24 carries through 2 games, and who should you start in Week 3?

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Mark Ingram finally seemed to be having the explosive season that Saints fans have been wishing from him for years, but the Week 2 injury Gods were cruel throughout the NFL.  Of course, Ingram's name was swept under the rug as names like AJ Green, Jamal Charles and Robert Griffin III all went down, but that doesn't make his loss any less significant to the Saints.  Through two games, Ingram had 24 carries for 143 yards, a 5.93 yard per carry average.

Now, the Saints need someone to pick up his workload.  But will it be Khiry Robinson or Pierre Thomas?  And, most importantly, who should you play in your Week 3 matchup?

Spoilers: It's Pierre Thomas.  Doubly so if you're playing in a PPR league, since Robinson is next to never targeted out of the backfield and Thomas is the PT Screen Machine.  Robinson is a strong, big-bodied, hard running back that can wear defenses down between the tackles, which does not lend itself to fantasy success.

Let's take a look at how the Saints approached the situation last year.  Of course, certain circumstances have changed; and the situation isn't exactly the same as it was in 2013.  Darren Sproles is no longer lining up for the Saints, Robinson has proven a bit more than he did early in his rookie season, and the Saints have employed a different running scheme for their offensive line.  However, that running scheme benefits Thomas more than Robinson, as Thomas likes to wait behind the line of scrimmage for a whole to open up, whereas Robinson utilizes a one jump cut style.  It's effective, and it's usually good for 3-5 yards, but you won't see him breaking a lot of big gains with that method.

In the 5 games that the Saints played both Robinson and Thomas, with Ingram out, Robinson only carried the ball more than Thomas once.  Thomas carried the ball 59 times in that span.  Robinson had 35 touches.  Also notably, Robinson did not have a reception in the regular season, and he had only one against Seattle in the playoffs.  Thomas also had 5 (2 rushing, 3 receiving) touchdowns to Robinson's 1.

Robinson is an excellent change of pace back, but be wary of picking him up.  Robinson hasn't had more than 13 carries in his career.  It's hard to imagine that a year would change everything and make Sean Payton believe that he can be a workhorse back.  If both are on the table, then Pierre Thomas is the easy choice to make.  He's a proven veteran that Payton knows and trusts.  Perhaps if Robinson shows something amazing against the Vikings, this mentality will change; but clearly Payton doesn't yet see Robinson as a guy that can carry the offensive load.  Furthermore, and this one final thing is worth noting: a back that can't make catches out of the backfield in a pass-heavy offense is a liability to your roster, whereas Thomas is still one of Brees's favorite targets.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.