Heading into this season, it was believed by most that Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller had finally broken free of the dreaded committee situation. Fred Jackson had been sapping his value for two years, and this was supposed to be the year that Spiller became an elite fantasy running back. However, Spiller owners have been disappointed in the production they have received this season, and it is now very apparent that Jackson isn’t going anywhere.
Last season, the Bills inexplicably fed Jackson the ball despite the fact Spiller was clearly more effective. This season however, it is Jackson that has been the more productive back. Spiller has 66 carries for 230 yards and no TDs, good for just 3.5 YPC. Jackson has racked up 256 yards on just 48 carriers, scoring 2 TDs and averaging 5.3 YPC. The story is the same through the air, where Jackson has 13 catches for 113 yards, while Spiller has just 9 receptions for 29 yards.
The fact that Jackson has played so much better is a huge surprise, and it is very concerning when measuring Spiller’s value going forward. He can no longer be considered a top RB1, and it seems the monster season everyone was expecting is no longer a likely possibility. The touches have been about 60/40 in favor of Spiller, and there is no reason to think that will change.
Making matters worse in Buffalo are the injuries both players picked up yesterday. Spiller sprained his ankle while Jackson suffered a strained MCL. Both players believe they will be able to play Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, but they are still questionable. The Browns are ranked 6th in the NFL in run defense, and playing through injury on a short week is difficult enough as is.
There is a good chance Tashard Choice picks up some extra work Thursday, making the Bills’ backfield a total mess from a fantasy perspective. Unless one of the two backs is ruled out, it is very hard to see either Spiller or Jackson as a safe starter this week.
Going forward, this is going to remain a frustrating situation, and Spiller owners will have to hope that he can somehow separate himself from Jackson. Unless one player starts getting significantly more touches, the value of both will be hugely diminished.