CJ Spiller Must Be Benched to Find Fantasy Success in Week 5

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:  C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

If you've got CJ Spiller on your fantasy football team, keep him far, far away from the starting lineup.

He and the Buffalo Bills travel to Cleveland for a Thursday night battle against the Browns.

Spiller's health has been in doubt over the last week or so. He said that he only needs to be 80-85 percent in order to play, via Bills Twitter account.

According to NFL.com's Albert Breer, it's going to be a game-time decision, via NFL Network.

Perhaps if this was an upper body injury, you could think of starting Spiller this week. Something like a shoulder or arm injury wouldn't be a major hindrance for a running back, especially one as quick as Spiller.

However, it's an ankle issue. Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll has a great breakdown of how this will adversely effect the star runner's game:

Spiller's ankle sprain is problematic for a player with his quickness and lateral movement. Hard cuts and those ankle-breaking hops that he can toss into a run to make people miss are taken away by even a minor lingering injury.

Playing on a Thursday means the running back has had less time to rest his ankle. He had 23 carries on Sunday, his highest single-game number of the 2013 season. Fred Jackson was a bit limited in that game against the Baltimore Ravens, so it meant Spiller had to shoulder a little more of the running burden at times. It made sense for the Bills, but it also meant putting more mileage on that ankle.

There's virtually no way Spiller will be at 100 percent by Thursday night. His body just can't recuperate that fast. He's not going to be an effective runner if he can't make the cuts to get away from tacklers.

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled during NFL game action by Matt Elam  #26 of the Baltimore Ravens as he carries the ball at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by To
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Is this not enough to scare you off? Just look at the matchup.

Despite the front office's best efforts, the Browns have been very good in the past two weeks. It's like a football version of Major League.

Even before the Trent Richardson trade, though, the defense was stepping up in a big way. The Browns did a lot to upgrade on that side of the ball during the offseason, and it's paying off. Ray Horton has done a great job and deserves just as much credit as Brian Hoyer, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron for the Browns' 2-2 record.

When it comes to shutting down the run, few teams are better.

Cleveland has the fourth-best defense in terms of rushing yards per game. It's only giving up an average of 79 yards on the ground. Football Outsiders also has the Browns at No. 6 in rush defense.

Even at full health, Spiller would have found yards hard to come by, with Jackson taking carries and going up against such a stout front seven. When you throw in the ankle problem, there's almost no way he can do enough to warrant a start on your fantasy team.