C.J. Spiller – RB – Buffalo Bills
5th Year – 5’11”, 195 lbs
2013 Stats – 202-933 Yards, 2 TD Rushing/ 33-185 Yards Receiving
Pluses – C.J. Spiller could have the most yards in the NFL in 2014. He is one of the fastest players in all of football and has the type of vision and lateral quickness to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. The ankle injury severely limited his production in 2013. He dropped 1.4 yards per carry as a result which is still incredibly effective at 4.6 YPC. Over his first four seasons Spiller is averaging 5.1 YPC which is the second highest in the NFL over that span (JaMaal Charles 5.5) with a minimum of 500 carries. The lack of carries over the past four years is actually a positive going forward. Spiller will be 27 years old this season but has just 590 carries on his legs which is equal to a RB entering his third year. The ability to catch the football out of the backfield is a huge plus for Spiller also. His rookie season the coaching staff actually used him as a WR more than a RB. The key is to get him the ball in space and then watch him work. There are few players in the NFL with bigger upside and big play ability than C.J. Spiller.
Minuses – Spiller is an enigma. There is so much talent here yet two head coaches and three offensive coordinators have just not been able to get him the football. It has become obvious that the Bills coaches aren’t sure how they will run their offense let alone who will be a part of it. Spiller doesn’t pass protect very well though he has made tremendous strides in this area in the past couple of years. Still, if you can’t pass protect in the NFL you won’t be on the field as a RB. Injuries are also a concern with Spiller especially when a basic ankle sprain zaps nearly 25% of his production. His slight frame isn’t contusive to taking a regular beating as a full service NFL RB has to.
Summary – The bottom line here is that despite being a tremendous let down in 2013, Spiller remains a big upside player this year. His value rises even more in PPR league formats, as Spiller is an elite level pass catcher out of the backfield. The conundrum with him is that the coaching staff in Buffalo appears confused not only on how to use Spiller but what style of offense they want to run. Surely, the additions of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon this offseason shows that the coaches and possibly front office aren’t completely sold on Spiller. At 27 years of age and with just 590 career carries, Spiller is very much in the prime of his career right now. In a perfect world he would be your RB2. Bue due to his upside somebody will likely scoop him up in the second round of your draft. Making Spiller your lead RB is a dangerous proposition but one that could pay off tremendously. I highly recommend if you are taking a shot on him that you also add Fred Jackson in the earlier middle rounds to hedge your bet. At the very least that way you will have a starting caliber RB in your holster and the massive upside of a player who could be a top five performer this season.
Rushing: 15 Games, 210-1071 Yards, 6 TD’s
Receiving: 15 Games, 44-369 Yards, 2 TD’s
Current Average Draft Position: 25.44 (FFPC) & 28.24 (NFFC)
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