quarter of the 2013 NFL season is in the books, which translates to roughly a third of the fantasy football season. If you were one of the unlucky owners who drafted Buffalo Bills running back CJ Spiller in the first round of your draft this year, things probably haven’t gone as well as you had hoped.
Almost assuredly off to a slow start with him in your every week starting lineup, many of you are undoubtedly wondering if the time has come to dump the explosive back for whatever you can get in a trade.
To put it simply, the time to panic on Spiller has not yet come. Things will get better.
Sure, things aren’t looking good for Spiller heading into week five, he is yet to practice due to an ankle injury as of this writing and has a Thursday game fast approaching. But this week aside, this isn’t CJ2K we’re talking about here, Spiller is too talented on a team with too much success rushing the football for him to continue to sputter out.
So far this season Spiller has not scored a touchdown, and has only eclipsed the 100 yard mark once, when he put in a startable fantasy outing in week two against Carolina. Considering he is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, and can not seem to find the end zone, one might think that he is doomed to suffer through a sub-par season.
While it may be true that he will not match his totals from a year ago, it is unreasonable to think that the touchdowns won’t start coming soon. Same with the explosive, long runs he is famous for.
Spiller is a guy that can turn any play into a huge gain, as he showed a year ago when he went off for 1,244 yards and an astonishing 6 yards per carry. Nearly twice what he averages this season.
Teams are keying in on Spiller when he is in the game, something they aren’t doing for veteran backup Fred Jackson, who has put together a much nicer start to the season in terms of fantasy.
Several experts are actually ranking Jackson higher on a weekly basis now in comparison with Spiller. Don’t be fooled.
Spiller is still the man in Buffalo.
Need evidence? I thought you might.
Spiller’s touches have not dropped off despite his struggles in 2013. Playing on a hobbled leg in week four, quarterback EJ Manuel still handed him the rock 23 times, which he turned into 77 yards.
A duel threat, Spiller has the ability to make an impact in the receiving game as well as by taking hand offs. A year ago he caught 44 passes for nearly 500 yards. So far in 2013, he has only caught 9 balls for 29 yards. EJ Manuel is acclimating himself to the professional game and will eventually realize the weapon he has in the short passing game. Those numbers will increase.
Things may look bleak for you Spiller owners, I myself am one in two of my leagues, however things will turn around. Maybe sitting out on Thursday, which is beginning to look more and more likely, will be exactly what the doctor ordered.
If Spiller can get back to full strength and Jackson takes on the split carry role that worked so well a year ago, CJ Spiller will once again find his rhythm and become a top ten fantasy running back. Don’t push the panic button just yet.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express