Before I start, I would like to wish everyone a happy 2014. I hope the year ahead is a great one for you and yours.
To say that C.J. Spiller underperformed during the 2013 fantasy football season would be an understatement. During the preseason, many writers were pegging him as not only the top running back, but the number one overall fantasy prospect heading into the year. When the season ended, Spiller ranked 33rd in standard scoring leagues amongst just the running backs in scoring, and averaged less than eight fantasy points per game. This wasn’t exactly what owners who drafted him with their first round pick had in mind.
So will Spiller bounce back in 2014? It would be hard to imagine him not. First off, counterpart Fred Jackson will be 33 when next season starts off and we all know what happens to running backs after they exceed age 30. While I wouldn’t count out Jackson, I would imagine that the Buffalo Bills start to give him fewer touches each week in an effort to preserve him. Those extra touches should go to Spiller, and with those extra touches comes the potential for more yards, scores and fantasy points.
Secondly, Spiller was injured for the majority of the season. The Bills were right in the hunt of the playoffs through roughly the first half of the year and because of that, they never allowed Spiller to rest and have the ankle properly heal. It wasn’t until week eight that the Bills actually sat Spiller and allowed him a full week to rest. He responded in week nine with 155 total yards against arguably the best defense in the league when the Bills traveled to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. He unfortunately reinjured his ankle during that game and came up with a few more terrible fantasy performances. It wasn’t until after the week 12 bye that allowed him another week of rest that Spiller turned in his best performance of the year in week 13, posting over 21 fantasy points on 157 total yards and a score.
Despite the fact that fantasy owners knew he wasn’t healthy for the majority of the season, his talent is so immense that he still had the potential to break off a long touchdown run every time he touched the ball, many owners just couldn’t resist the lure of starting him. I’ll take an 80 percent healthy Spiller more times than not over more than a few fully healthy running backs. Spiller played in only 10 games in 2013, and still flirted with a 1,000 yard season. Much like Peyton Manning having a down game with “only” 300 yards, the fact that Spiller wrapped up his season averaging 4.6 yards per carry speaks volumes to the talent he has. With the full summer to heal, assuming there are no setbacks, a healthy Spiller should be able to return to being a top tier running back in 2014. His draft stock for 2014 will certainly be dropped by his subpar season this year, but if he is available in the fourth or fifth round, it will be hard to pass on a player of his caliber.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
Read more from Dustin here.