C.J. Spiller's Journey to Stardom
Who else are we missing?
By the time we got to the final week before the season, Fred Jackson was going in the 3rd round while C.J. Spiller was going in the 12th or later. The reason, of course, was that the Bills were going to ride Fred Jackson the way they did last season before he got injured and C.J. Spiller, who was averaging about 16 fantasy points per game during Jackson's absence, would be relegated back to the bench. Things were going exactly as anticipated until Fred Jackson went down with an injury (which, in itself, was probably equally anticipated at some point) after having a relatively lackluster start to the game. Then C.J. Spiller stepped up and destroyed the Jets defense despite limited carries with the Bills down big. Spiller rode that wave of momentum into the game against the Chiefs and gashed them. At this point Spiller is leading the NFL in rushing yards (292) and is averaging about 200 scrimmage yards (182, to be exact) per game. The questions has to be; Why was C.J. Spiller not starting for this team?
Regardless of how good you think Fred Jackson was going to be, leading the league in rushing was probably not part of the assumption. Everyone with C.J. Spiller should count themselves lucky, because they have an obvious and unfair advantage over their opponents by getting Spiller at such a ridiculously low price. The issue here is the player assessment process that went on in the Bills training camp and goes on throughout the league. You have to wonder how many phenomenal players are being held back by good starters ahead of them. C.J. Spiller proved how good he was at the end of last season, so why didn't he get the start? The biggest question for fantasy would be; How can I find these players before they break out?
Andre Brown represents one real possibility to be the next C.J. Spiller. This guy performed well when he played this week after Ahmad Bradshaw went down, and he is obviously preferred over David Wilson. The Giants are a good running team that loves to use a solid RBBC. Brown could break out and become a significant contributor in this offense. Daryl Richardson is another player who had an amazing game but is stuck behind Steven Jackson. I'm not going to say that Richardson deserves to leapfrog Jackson, but you have to wonder how much Steven Jackson's name helped him out this offseason and whether Richardson is truly as good as he seems. There is nothing to say that either of these players or any other is really better than the people ahead of them, but there are some players out there that deserve to be on the field who aren't. You have to wonder whether the system is broken in terms of putting the best players on the field or if C.J. Spiller isn't as good as he seems.