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Saints' C.J. Spiller officially listed as questionable

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller is officially listed as questionable for this Sunday after practicing on a limited basis every day this week.

I think there is a good chance Spiller will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday’s inactives are announced.

The Saints’ running back depth is solid without Spiller, and Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson both showed their versatility last week at Arizona by catching a combined 13 passes for 149 yards.

But the Saints' offense should be more dynamic and harder to defend once Spiller returns to the lineup. His big-play potential as a runner, receiver and possibly as a kickoff returner is reminiscent of what the Saints had in the past with Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush. Those guys also drew extra attention from safeties and/or linebackers in pass coverage, which helps free up other options.

For fantasy purposes, Spiller is a risky start this week since it’s possible that he could be limited even if he does play in his first week back following minor knee surgery last month. But if your pickings are slim, Spiller’s big-play potential makes it possible for him to have a big impact even if his snaps are limited.

More importantly, as I wrote in this week’s NFL Nation insider trading column (which requires Insider access) Spiller’s long-term future looks promising since the injury didn’t linger too long. He still has a chance to catch 60-plus passes in this offense.

Meanwhile, Saints safety Jairus Byrd (knee), cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (toe) were all officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers after not participating in team drills this week.

And Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans was listed as questionable with his hamstring injury. His status will be a huge factor in Sunday’s game, since the second-year receiver has emerged as such a go-to guy for Tampa Bay, especially in the red zone.