CJ Spiller: Injury Makes Fred Jackson Must-Own Player in All Fantasy Leagues

Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 24, 2012

Once both players are healthy, you're looking at a two-headed fantasy monster.
Once both players are healthy, you're looking at a two-headed fantasy monster.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In case you forgot about Fred Jackson, it's about time to become educated once again.

The chance of Jackson being available in your fantasy league is small (he's owned in 93 percent of ESPN leagues), sure, but if he's somehow available or if you have the chance to trade for him, get him.


Seriously, I'll wait. 

Why? Here's why:

Jason La Canfora reports from that Fred Jackson should play this Sunday vs. New England

RB CJ Spiller has sprained A/C joint, not separated shoulder. Great news for Bills Likely 1-2 week injury, Fred Jackson should play Sun

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 24, 2012

Buffalo Bills beat writer Chris Brown confirms that Jackson is expected to practice this week:

"The Bills are not expected to have C.J. Spiller this Sunday, but Fred Jackson has recovered quickly from his knee injury to the point that he’ll practice at some point this week...

'Fred will practice this week,' said Gailey. 'I don’t know if it’ll be Wednesday or Thursday, but he should practice some time this week. His recovery has been amazing.'”

The 31-year-old veteran is in an odd situation. He established himself as basically the heart and soul—and maybe even stomach—of the Buffalo Bills offense before getting injured last year. But after suffering a nasty knee injury in Week 1 of this season, he dropped off the fantasy radar of which he was so quickly rising to the top. 

C.J. Spiller's dominance in Jackson's stead didn't help. 

In two games this season, Spiller racked up a ridiculous 292 rushing yards, 72 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He was on his way to more of the same in Week 3 before injuring his shoulder. 

Suddenly, everything in Buffalo has changed once again.

To help assess the situation, it's best to know when each player will be back. 

First, Spiller (via ESPN's Adam Schefter):

Bills RB C.J. Spiller is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his left shoulder Monday, however his collarbone is intact and doctors do not believe he will be sidelined much beyond next week. The belief is he sprained a shoulder joint.

Meanwhile, Jackson is recovering much faster than expected (via Bills beat writer Chris Brown):

“I guess I’m shocked,” said Gailey. ”When I saw (the injury) happen it happened right in front of me. When I heard the prognosis, you’re mentally in that five to six week range. I was nice to say three or four, but I was mentally thinking five or six. To see where he is right now I’ve got to give a lot of credit to him and the work he’s done and to our training staff for the work they’ve done getting him back. It looks like he’s got a chance for the New England game and for sure the next game.”

“New England is the goal,” Jackson told Buffalobills.com Friday. “But I’ve got to get cleared by a bunch of people to do that. We’ve all been targeting four weeks from when I was injured, but hopefully it’s not that long. Hopefully I can get out there ASAP.”

New England, if you were wondering, is Buffalo's Week 4 opponent. 

So, while the injuries in Chan Gailey's backfield seemed so brutal early on Sunday, it appears as though both players could be back in action very soon.

From a fantasy perspective, that means one word you usually don't want to hear: timeshare. 

But have no fear. Even when both players are back to full strength and likely splitting carries, they are both useful. Buffalo likes to spread the ball out, sure, but Gailey would be smart to feed his two most talented players as much as possible. 

Should that happen, you're looking at a Deangelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart type situation, and that's a situation where both running backs should be owned in every league.

Act accordingly.