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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

C. J. Spiller - Am I Alone Here?

I feel a bit or responsibility this year with C.J. Spiller.  I was one of the writers for the Bills preview in the RotoWire magazine and I didn't exactly sing his praises.  I said he was a dynamic talent in the prime of his career, but I also said that he gives me pause.

But am I alone in this?  I mean, Spiller seems to be everyone's first round sleeper this year.  The production last year was awesome and his career YPC is fantastic.

So, why am I worried?  Let me count the ways:

Carrying the Load - Spiller is likely to have a rookie quarterback this year so defenses will aim to stop the running game.  Fred Jackson doesn't scare anyone anymore, but Spiller sure does.  Basically, you beat the Bills by stopping Spiller.

Consistency - The games where Spiller went off last year were great.  You probably won those matchups if you owned him.  Unfortunately the opposite is true, too.  There were six games last year where he had less than 60 yards rushing and five games where he went over 100.  It's just too unpredictable for me.

Changes - New coaches, new staff, new scheme.  Plus, he lost one of his best offensive linemen in Andy Levitre (who was basically not replaced).  I don't have any faith in Doug Marrone or the offensive coordinator he brought with him from Syracuse.  Prove me wrong, guys.

Track Record - Spiller wasn't nearly as good in his first two years as he was in his third.  Was it a breakout season with more to come, or just a career season?

Was it really a breakout anyway? - Is 1,244 yards and six touchdowns an enormous breakout season anyway?  It's a very strong season, no doubt. But if that is the ceiling, wouldn't you rather have Ray Rice, Alfred Morris, or LeSean McCoy?  All three of those guys are being drafted right after Spiller.  I'll take any of them since those guys have (demonstrably) a much higher ceiling and play on teams with better offenses around them.

Spiller is a dynamic weapon.  He'll get tons of opportunity as the centerpiece of the new Bills offense.  That's great, and I think he will do well.  I just see more red flags than green flags when trying to make a first round decision this year.