C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
|RB - #12||42.75||BUF||Active||5 years||27||5'11||200||@CJSPILLER|
2014 Outlook: Solid/Safe PickLast updated on Jul-06-2014 by Rusty Reeves
YOU GOTTA BELIEVE: It is understandable if a large number of fantasy owners skip over this section of the article. Spiller was a first-round pick for many of them last year. He was going to be the focal point of the Bills' offense. Then an ankle injury hampered him for much of the season, and he burned his owners so badly with inconsistent outputs that some may never forgive him. It also didn't help that he was misused by the Bills' coaching staff even when he was running at full strength. Hopefully they learned the error of their ways, because Spiller remains this team's most dangerous weapon on offense. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry on just 201 totes last season. And there's reason to believe he will see much more work this season. Similar things have been spoken regarding Spiller before, but there is no denying that he presents massive upside when healthy. And right now, he is. The former Clemson alum could be a major steal at his current third-round average draft position.
Editor's note: Last year, Spiller was typically drafted around the middle of the first round of fantasy drafts. He was supposed to be the next big thing. He still can be; you just have to take the risk to glean the reward.
It took only 10 minutes of game time Sunday for the injury bug to tear down Buffalo's running game. Now the Bills will spend the next few weeks trying to build it back up, at least until Fred Jackson comes back from his groin injury. C.J. Spiller and his broken collarbone may never come back.
Fifth-year running back Anthony Dixon hopes that the team calls upon him first in its effort to replace those two players. He says he's ready for such a call.
"This is opportunity I've been waiting for, to get back in that workhorse role and show people what I can do," Dixon said to The Buffalo News after Sunday's last-second win over Minnesota. "I want to show people what I could do in college and high school.
"I feel like I really didn't get labeled right coming out of college. People tried to do something else with me, make me somebody that I really wasn't. ... Put me in short-yardage, say I couldn't run routes or I ain't got hands.
"I don't see what they're seeing. I'm ready for the opportunity."
Dixon spent the first four years of his pro career with the 49ers and didn't handle more than 30 carries in any season past his 2010 rookie year. That was something else Dixon lamented Sunday, saying the Niners "never gave me a chance to have this opportunity. That was one of the reasons why I had to get out of there."
So he signed with the Bills in March and has carried the ball 20 times in the past two games alone. But he's not alone in this backfield. The Bills also have Bryce Brown, although you wouldn't know it if you've watched any Bills games this season; he has been a healthy scratch for each of them.
Brown, 23, certainly doesn't lack NFL ability. He is 6-feet tall, weighs 220 pounds and has 4.4 speed. The Bills sent a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick to the Eagles in May for his services, so their brass must see something in him. That "something" was on full display when Brown got back-to-back starts in place of LeSean McCoy in 2012. He gained more than 370 yards from scrimmage and scored four times in those two games. You saw that speed and power wrapped up in one eye-opening runner.
But not all that glitters is gold. Once defenses started to catch on to Brown, he showed an overwhelming desire to take every carry to the perimeter of the formation. He does a poor job of following his blocks and prioritizing ball security. His inability to play special teams is why he has been sidelined up to this point, but now the Bills have no choice. They really must play him.
But will he get more work than Dixon? That's what fantasy owners are pondering as they put in those FAAB bids tonight. If the coaches just wanted the more talented player, Brown would be the better pick, and it wouldn't be close. As highly as Dixon thinks of himself, he is what everyone says he is and everything he thinks he's more than: A grind-it-out, physical runner who can attack the middle of the line in short-yardage. He isn't a good receiver. He doesn't have enough juice to get to the outside and can't cut on a dime. He doesn't offer the flash that makes Brown so enticing. Dixon is just steady. He hasn't fumbled the ball in 187 career touches, and the Bills know what they can expect out of him after seeing him play these past two weeks.
That familiarity may be Dixon's biggest advantage. We've already seen how Doug Marrone and his staff handle skilled-but-flawed runners -- See: Spiller, C.J. They may be just looking for the dependable guy whom they know will be able to at least keep them afloat while they wait for Jackson to come back. Brown's upside is certainly greater, but he hasn't played in a regular-season game in 10 months.
I don't think either player is worth emptying your fantasy wallet for. Again, both will probably be playing bit parts once Jackson is ready to return, perhaps as soon as Week 11. But if you are desperate and need a player out of this backfield to start for you right away, Dixon is the better add, I think. He gained 51 yards on 13 carries last week. I could see him getting as much work this Sunday against the Jets before Buffalo heads into its bye.
But if you want to invest in a future for bench depth, try Brown. At some point, I would hope, Buffalo has to understand just how much more special he is than Dixon as an athlete. Maybe they never will, but if those coaches continue to run Dixon out there without giving Brown a chance, they'll be limiting the potential of their own offense.
FFToolbox NFL News & Rumors10/21 - Bills RB Anthony Dixon is ready for his close-up
10/20 - Report: Bills RB Fred Jackson will not play in Week 8 due to groin injury
10/19 - Bills RBs C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson injured
10/19 - WR Sammy Watkins goes off, QB Kyle Orton leads Bills to comeback win
10/19 - UPDATE: Bills RB C.J. Spiller to undergo season-ending surgery on collarbone
10/18 - Bills OC says he wants to continue 'feeding' RB C.J. Spiller
9/29 - Bills bench QB E.J. Manuel for Kyle Orton
Latest References to C.J. Spiller on FFToolbox:
- Week 7: Player Downgrades
- Week 5: Fantasy Football Sit 'em
- Week 1: Player Upgrades
- 2014 Auction Draft Ripoffs
- Capitalizing on ADP value from last year's injuries - Part 2
- 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Candidates
- 2014 Team Outlook: Buffalo Bills
2014 Mock Draft Results
FFToolbox Mock Draft July 21
|3.06||SiriusXM - Fantasy Exec - Spiller who rushed for 4.6 yards a carry last will return to 2012 form if healthy this season.|
FFToolbox Mock Draft July 14
July 14, 2014
|3.01||Scout PRO - A first Rd pick just a yr ago has upside to be top 5|
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