by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Every year fantasy owners want to get excited about the upside of the Bills’ C.J. Spiller and seemingly every year he is a bitter disappointment. Why did anyone think he would actually be used as the lead back over Fred Jackson this season?
Things may have finally hit the tipping point in Week 6, as ESPN provides the snap count (click here for the post):
- Fred Jackson – 52
- C.J. Spiller – 12
- Anthony Dixon – 8
As Mike Rodak explains the situation:
“This was Spiller’s smallest workload of the season. It’s hard to blame the Bills from straying away from him. Spiller was stopped for a 3-yard loss on the first play of the game, an avoidable play where Spiller ran away from the line of scrimmage at one point trying to elude a defender. Spiller ran only twice after his late first-half fumble, although part of that was the scoreboard; the Bills were trailing more as the game progressed.”
Which was the bigger issue, the fumble or the scoreboard? To be honest it probably doesn’t matter. Spiller is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry (and the bulk of that came due to a 47 yard run). He’s been outperformed by Jackson (4.4 YPC), who also is the preferred back in the passing game as he’s already racked up 30 receptions for 245 yards and a touchdown.
While Anthony Dixon has only been given 14 carries, he has a stellar average of 6.1 YPC and you could argue that he deserves more opportunities. From a performance standpoint alone things aren’t heading in the right direction.
Of course Jackson is also the preferred red zone running back, getting 14 carries to Spiller’s 3. So Spiller is struggling between the 20s, isn’t getting as many opportunities in the passing game and isn’t a threat in the red zone… Exactly what are we hoping for?
Obviously the upside is there, should an opportunity present itself, but it’s easy to imagine his carries continuing to regress as the season moves on. Right now he should be viewed as more of a handcuff than anything and even that could change (if Dixon surpasses him given his performance).
Maybe next season, when Spiller has a new home, he can realize his potential. For now, though, he’s worth nothing more than a spot on your bench and a hope that something changes.
Sources – ESPN, CBS Sports