I knew it happened it to me last year when I selected C.J. Spiller. I drafted a player with a great brand but deep down knew something wouldn’t pan out. Everyone talked about his upside and how the Bills wanted to give him the ball until he “threw up.” Everyone was drinking the Spiller Kool-Aid. I didn’t even like him last year–I liked that everyone else liked him. There was a little voice within myself urging caution . . . but I decided to take a drink for myself.
With this series, I want to take a closer look at potentially worrisome situations. I don’t want to feel that way again.
C.J. Spiller – Fred Jackson – Bryce Brown
Last season the Bills led the NFL with 546 rushing attempts. With E.J. Manuel still fairly inexperienced and the two-headed running attack they have, I imagine this trend could continue.
I don’t think Brown will severely hamper the value of this backfield, but he could certainly play a role. According to BuffaloBills.com they do like Brown’s talents.
“In my mind Bryce Brown is a very talented running back that has the potential to start in the NFL,” Marrone said “
Marrone also mentioned this about Brown.
“I don’t know if I want to get it down to three. I’ve never been a guy that has three backs playing in the game,” Marrone told ESPN.com. “I’ve always believed, and you guys know, in the two backs. It’ll come down to two backs; the two backs going in there.”
The main reason I wanted to bring Bryce Brown into the picture is because if anything happens to one of these two RBs, I believe Brown will be brought in to carry some of the load and keep the two-back system intact. Especially so, given Brown’s strong preseason.
I think this particular set of backs could cause some problems for fantasy owners. However, I think it depends on which back you own. I’m hoping to paint a clearer picture on which back that should be.
Last year Jackson averaged 13 FPPG compared to Spiller at just over nine FPPG. Spiller was hobbled by an ankle injury and never really looked like the Spiller everyone was clamoring about in the offseason. However, does it really matter? When Spiller broke out in 2012, Jackson played half the snaps that Spiller did. A lot has changed since then.
Fred Jackson isn’t going anywhere. He may be old and not very flashy, but he gets the job done. Jackson also typically receives the goal-line and third-down work with the Bills. Even in the preseason, Jackson has been receiving those duties.
Spiller not playing on third downs or in RZ http://t.co/n5zNum5EKK
— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) August 18, 2014
Jackson played 244 more snaps than Spiller last year. Again, we can always use his ankle injury as an excuse as to why these snaps played out the way they did.
Player A had 1,277 total yards and 10 TDs in 2013 and player B had 1,118 total yards and two TDs. Which player would you rather have? I imagine most said player A. Would you still choose player A if you knew Jackson’s name is attached to it? I find it a mystery as to why Spiller is being drafted in the third round of drafts this year. I hear fantasy players think of Spiller as an upside pick. That may have been true prior to the 2013 season, but if Spiller isn’t going to be reliable for third-down work and he doesn’t get goal-line carries, where is the upside? With Jackson around it’s simply not there. Maybe their ADPs should flip-flop?
Looking at the RotoViz heatmap on these players from last season, it’s hard to make an argument for taking Spiller five rounds ahead of Jackson. Jackson had 253 touches last year and Spiller hovered around the same mark, at 235. Jackson should continue to have a bigger impact for your fantasy team as he’s getting the goal-line work. Spiller will have to break off a few long runs for scores to even get a glimpse of the end-zone.
C.J. Spiller Projection
Looking at the RotoViz RB sim score app it appears, that it isn’t very optimistic about the Spiller outlook, either. Not exactly what you’re looking for in a third-round pick.
Fred Jackson Projection
Now, looking at the RB sim score for Jackson, the projection isn’t anything special . . . but Jackson is going five rounds later than Spiller.
Who I’m Drafting
If I am drafting an RB from the Bills, it is 100 percent Fred Jackson. He gets the goal-line work, the third-down work, he can catch (47 receptions last season) and the best part is that Jackson continues to be undervalued. Jackson isn’t flashy, but he’s effective. He’ll more than provide his values worth being selected in the eighth-to-ninth round. I’m not sure if you can say that if you’re selecting Spiller in the third. Even if healthy, Spiller is going to have to really take advantage of the carries he’s given, to make him a viable third round pick. It would take an injury to Jackson to make Spiller appealing at his current ADP (and don’t forget about Bryce Brown). Vaughn Stewart also marked Spiller in our RotoViz Round Table: 11 overvalued players we won’t touch in 2014. This timeshare doesn’t have to cause migraines, but it could if you’re selecting Spiller in the third round. I’d opt for Andre Ellington, or the undervalued Zac Stacy if you’re looking for an RB in that ADP range.