The Fantasy Football Preview: C.J. Spiller

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

While we always try to separate our fantasy views from those as die-hard Bills fans, the lines get a bit blurred when it comes to C.J. Spiller. If you owned C.J. last year, you realize how frustrating his lack of use was on multiple levels.

I remember my 6-year old son turning to me last year and asking, “If CJ is so good how come they don’t give him the ball every time?” I’d have an easier time responding if he asked me how babies were made. The statistics last season were maddening:

  • Six games with under ten rushes
  • Eleven games with under fifteen rushes
  • Eleven games with three or less catches

Enter Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett, and now Bills fans and Spiller fantasy owners can only hope for the best. Here is a quote from Hackett when he appeared on WGR last week.

“It’s real simple,” Hackett said. “We’re going to give him the ball until he throws up. So he’s either got to tap out or throw up on the field. Let’s just put it that way.”

So unless Hackett is lying, it is safe to say that Spiller will average more than last season’s 13 carries a game. That average was 22nd in the league and lower than players such as Vick Ballard and Mikel Leshoure – not exactly the second coming of Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders. If the Bills offense is going to be successful, Spiller will need to get more touches (Captain Obvious reporting for duty!).

When it comes to drafting Spiller in fantasy you already know he is a sure-fire pick. Every major site and publication has him going in the top 7 – somewhere after Adrian Peterson and lumped with Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, and Arian Foster. And to put 2012 into perspective, enjoy this nugget from Rotoworld:

Spiller’s 1,703 yards from scrimmage was fifth amongst running backs. That’s despite the fact he touched the ball just 250 times — 103.5 fewer times than the four players ahead of him averaged.

(I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

If you have the #1 pick in your league you need to pick Adrian Peterson. It is a foregone conclusion and should not be questioned unless AP gets hurt in the preseason. After that, it is open market on Spiller. You can make a case for any of the RB’s listed above, but you can do the same with CJ. He won’t last until the second round – so if you want him, take him. Get Fred Jackson as your handcuff pick, and see if Hackett is a man of his word.