C.J. Spiller Injury: Assessing Tashard Choice's Fantasy Value in Week 4

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Tashard Choice #30 of the Buffalo Bills carries for a gain during their NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have lost two starting-caliber running backs through the first three weeks of the NFL season, watching Fred Jackson go down with a knee injury Week 1 and C.J. Spiller with what appears to be a strained AC joint.

Jackson was originally expected to miss three to four weeks with his injury, while Spiller looks to be out no more than two weeks, which is great news for the Bills.

What does it all mean for fantasy owners? With Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm on a team known for rushing the ball 25-30 times per game under Chan Gailey, is there going to be an option on the waiver wire that will pay dividends for your team?

Tashard Choice, the former Dallas Cowboy and Washington Redskin, stepped up big for Spiller, rushing 21 times for 90 yards and no touchdowns in his team's gutty win against the Browns.

This isn't the first time Choice has made a major fantasy impact when coming into a ballgame. He had a 100-yard game in 2010 against Peyton Manning and the Colts, as well as a solid stretch in 2009 where he was putting up consistent numbers as a receiver out of the backfield and as a runner.

However, Choice doesn't ever seem to be able to take the next step, both on the field and in the fantasy realm.

The news from Buffalo on Monday is good for the Bills, but might not mean much about getting Choice to bolster your bench or your flex spot in Week 4.

ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Jackson is a "70-75 percent" go against the Minnesota Vikings, which would put him ahead of schedule on the original time frame associated with his injury.

Bills RB Fred Jackson said he's 70-75 percent certain he will be able to play Sunday vs. New England.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 24, 2012

What does that mean when rosters unlock early Tuesday morning? Well, for starters, it certainly makes Choice a riskier play, considering Jackson will work extra hard in practice to push himself back to the starting lineup.

Also, it means you'd better have your lineup pulled up on your smartphone, computer or whatever Internet site you use, since this inactive report will likely go down to the wire.

In a 10-12 team league, you likely have better options than Choice. Michael Bush and even a guy like Daniel Thomas might see a solid Week 4, and Choice would be way down on the totem pole should Jackson return at 100 percent.

However, the Bills likely won't want to force Jackson into an expanded role that featured 30-plus touches. Choice will get some game time, and when he's been given the chance in his career, he's usually responded well.

If Thomas or Mikel Leshoure are still available in your league, grab them first. Odds are they aren't, though, so Choice is a name that won't be in the minds of your fantasy foes.

It's a risky play, but in deeper leagues with less and less becoming available each week, take a flyer on Choice. It's up to you whether you are desperate enough to start him, but should Jackson or Spiller, who both have some injury history, go down again, Choice might be a steal of the waiver wire.

Grab him while you can, but start him at your own risk.