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C.J. Spiller is Just as Ridiculous as Advertised

spiller2

Just how good is C.J. Spiller? What if I told you he was tied for the highest yards per carry (YPC) in the league last year, sixth in total yards after contact (YAC), second in YAC/attempt, and fourth in missed tackles.

Spiller broke out at the end of the 2011 season, when he began to see regular playing time and touches because of Fred Jackson’s injury. He followed up this strong end of the season with two stellar performances in weeks one and two of the 2012 season. He ripped the Jets and Chiefs for 292 yards on 29 carries combined, good for just over 10 YPC, and three touchdowns during these weeks. In total, Spiller had 207 carries last year, rushing for 1,244 yards (6.0 YPC) and 6 touchdowns. He also added 43 catches for 459 yards (10.67 YPR) and 2 more touchdowns. If you were to extrapolate these numbers out to give him “feature back” carries (between 275 – 300), it would equal 1,650 yards on the low end and over 1,800 on the high end. Tossing aside Adrian Peterson’s absurd season, if Spiller were to get “feature back” carries, he would have led the league in rushing last year.

Now, this does bring up questions about whether Spiller can physically handle a full workload. So far in his career he has been prone to small, nagging injuries, however no serious injuries have occurred. Just like any running back, Spiller could go down in game 1 of 2013 and be done for the year, but his history of past injuries does give reason to be concerned that he could be more prone to a catastrophic injury.

Below is a chart comparing what Spiller did with the ball compared to the league’s other top backs last season.

Attempts

Yards

YPC

YAC

YAC/Carry

Total TDs

C.J. Spiller

207

1,244

6.0

742

3.6

8

Adrian Peterson

348

2,097

6.0

1,369

3.9

13

Alfred Morris

335

1,613

4.8

1,001

3.0

13

Marshawn Lynch

315

1,590

5.0

872

2.8

12

Doug Martin

319

1,454

4.6

1,005

3.2

12

Jamaal Charles

285

1,509

5.3

634

2.2

6

Frank Gore

258

1,214

4.7

682

2.6

9

Spiller generated 66 total missed tackles last year (rushing and receiving combined), good enough for third in the league among running backs, behind only Peterson and Martin. This table further breaks down how many missed tackles some of the top backs in the league generated.

Rushing MT

MT/Att

Receiving MT

MT/Rec

C.J. Spiller

53

0.256

13

0.302

Adrian Peterson

64

0.184

7

0.175

Alfred Morris

57

0.170

2

0.182

Marshawn Lynch

58

0.184

5

0.217

Doug Martin

53

0.166

15

0.306

Jamaal Charles

18

0.063

6

0.171

Frank Gore

30

0.116

11

0.393

Spiller proved last year that he is one of the most elusive and dynamic backs in the league. In fact, Spiller was far and away the most elusive back in the league in 2012, recording a 94.6 on ProFootballFocus’ elusive rating, the highest ever. Adrian Peterson was second last year with a 72.0.  

We know Spiller has the ability to do great things; the problem is that he hasn’t gotten the touches yet at this point in his career to be considered one of the very top fantasy running backs in the league. New head coach Doug Marrone ran a fairly balanced offense at Syracuse (averaged 43 rush attempts and 36 pass attempts per game), and many believe the Bills will run an up-tempo, west-coast style offense this year, with the idea being to get the ball to their playmakers in space, and to maximize the number of plays run. It’s also possible that the addition of a QB that’s a threat to run the ball could help the Bills run game as well. We’ve seen how a running QB put a little wind in the sails of teams like the Redskins in 2012, Seahawks 2012 and even the Tebow led Broncos in 2011.

C.J. Spiller is just as electric on the stat sheet as he looks running the ball in real life. Consider him a great choice in the 1st round in 2013.

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