As long as C.J. Spiller is playing for the Buffalo Bills, he's playing for your fantasy football team.
The running back's status has been murky as Spiller continues to combat an ankle injury, but the news in Buffalo is growing positive regarding his availability to play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that head coach Doug Marrone expects Spiller to be ready for the weekend's game against the NFL's only remaining undefeated team.
Spiller has not lived up to the lofty hype exerted on him before the season commenced. A year removed from averaging six yards per carry in limited action, Spiller has obtained a much more normal four yards per run. He has only broken the 100-yard barrier once and crossed the pylon for one touchdown, making the first-round pick a massive disappointment in fantasy leagues.
He recorded seven total yards two weeks ago before sitting out last weekend's match against the New Orleans Saints. His shortcomings have allowed Fred Jackson to preserve a regular role in Buffalo's offense that was supposed to make Spiller its go-to guy this season.
|First-Round Folly: CJ Spiller's 2012 and 2013 Numbers|
|Yards Per Carry||6.0||4.0|
Don't let that bitterness of false promises lead you to bench Spiller in frustration. Even though he has not displayed the same dynamic burst as last season, Spiller remains far too talented to bench, especially in a week where many other top rushers are on a bye.
The Chiefs are 8-0 on the strength of a vicious defense that has yielded just 12.3 points per game, so it's easy to panic at the sight of them on the schedule. But before running away faster than a healthy Spiller, consider that they have allowed 4.7 yards per carry.
Last season, Spiller compiled 170 total yards and two touchdowns against Kansas City. Don't assume the guy you signed up for is forever gone.
But what about Jackson, who leads the Bills in rushing attempts? Don't worry, only the San Francisco 49ers have attempted more rushes, and that's including runs from quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Marrone will look to run the ball often, giving Spiller and Jackson ample chances to peacefully share the wealth.
Peering around the rest of the league's rushers, it's hard to envision owners in competitive leagues touting a better option than Spiller this weekend. Who will you play in Spiller's place? Donald Brown? Willis McGahee? Brandon Bolden?
Anyone stuck with Spiller has little choice but to hope he figures it out in time to spark a fantasy playoff run. His ceiling remains too high to let him toil away on the bench.