Fred Jackson Is Must-Start Fantasy RB with C.J. Spiller Injured

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 8: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills rushes with the ball during NFL game action as Aqib Talib #31 of the New England Patriots prepares to tackle him at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills veteran running back Fred Jackson is a safe and profitable play for fantasy football owners as long as C.J. Spiller remains less than 100 percent healthy. 

Spiller is inactive for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, as noted by NFL Access, with an ankle injury that has plagued him for the past few weeks:

Jackson has been dealing with a minor knee injury, and he's been a bit banged up throughout the early portion of this season, but fantasy owners know he's been able to push through and produce at a high level for the Bills. 

Especially valuable in points-per-reception leagues, Jackson is a skilled receiver out of the backfield who has racked up 25 catches for 215 yards this season to go along with 380 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

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Splitting time with Spiller, Jackson has averaged nearly 16 touches and 85 yards per game, earning 5.31 yards per touch. He'll be backed up by Tashard Choice on Sunday against the Saints, who isn't as skilled as Spiller, meaning his opportunities to make plays should increase.

According to standard fantasy scoring, Jackson averages 12 points per week this season. He's scored double-digit fantasy points in every game this year except for the team's Week 6 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals. He only touched the ball 14 times in that contest, though.

New Orleans has featured a stout defense this season, but the Saints were gashed by New England last Sunday to the tune of 141 yards and two touchdowns rushing. 

Given Buffalo's propensity to run the ball with regularity (240 rushing attempts this season compared to 234 passing attempts), Jackson should receive upward of 20 touches in Sunday's game. He's been a solid producer all year long and will thrive as the team's go-to running back this weekend.

Looking ahead, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets are lined up behind the Saints in the weeks to come. All three teams are tough against the run, but Jackson scored well against Cleveland (another tough defense) in Week 5 with 93 yards and two touchdowns. 

When Spiller comes back strong and proves he's ready to become a significant threat for Buffalo, then Jackson's fantasy stock will take a hit. However, for the time being, he's a must-start fantasy running back you can count on for solid production on a weekly basis.


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