C.J. Spiller: Buffalo Bills RB Intriguing Buy-Low Target in Fantasy Football

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIINovember 17, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 11:  C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during the game on November 11, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

C.J. Spiller’s failure to score a touchdown on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins makes him an intriguing buy-low target for the stretch run in the fantasy football season. It’s kind of hard to buy low on a top-10 fantasy running back (ESPN standard scoring entering Week 11), but Spiller is a special case.

He has not run for 100 yards in a game since Week 2 or scored a touchdown since Week 6—making his fantasy production very yardage-dependent.

That’s a mark of a consistent fantasy running back.

Spiller was huge in the first three weeks of the season, gaining 308 rushing yards on 33 carries, adding 114 yards on seven catches and totaling four touchdowns.

Since then (seven games), he has rushed 76 times for 415 yards (5.5 avg) and one touchdown. He also grabbed 24 passes for 222 yards. The reason behind his lack of usage in that time (14.3 touches per game) was likely two-fold: the presence of Fred Jackson and Spiller’s injury history.

Neither of those seemed to be a factor on Thursday Night Football; as Jackson missed the game, Spiller took a career-high 22 carries against the Dolphins on a short week. Jackson may be back in Week 12, but Spiller’s playmaking ability can’t be ignored in fantasy football.

The Bills’ upcoming schedule is a favorable one for fantasy running backs, making a trade for Spiller a potential key component to a fantasy playoff run.

Spiller (and maybe Jackson) will be up against the Indianapolis Colts (rank: 23 in terms of stopping fantasy running backs in ESPN standard scoring), Jacksonville Jaguars (30), St. Louis Rams (19), Seattle Seahawks (4), Dolphins (5) and New York Jets (22).

Of that list, the two matchups that may be most discouraging for Spiller’s fantasy owners are the Seahawks and Dolphins. Yet Spiller just put up 130 total yards on the Dolphins, so Miami shouldn’t be a major deterrent.

Similarly, Seattle has allowed 51 receptions for 368 yards to running backs through 10 games this year. Spiller’s role with the Bills certainly involves catching balls out of the backfield—he has caught at least three passes in each of his last five games.

Furthermore, Seattle’s defense has been mortal against fantasy running backs in its last four games. Adrian Peterson (182 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in Week 9) had a lot to do with that, but from Week 7 to Week 10, the Seahawks have allowed 78 carries for 495 yards (6.3 avg) and Peterson’s two touchdowns.

Running backs facing the Seahawks also gathered 22 receptions for 136 yards during that time. Spiller also gets Seattle at home, which shouldn’t hurt his ability to produce a big game—even without the greatest of matchups.

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