Are you willing to trust C.J. Spiller this year?

When healthy, C.J. Spiller has a lot to smile about. (USATSI)
When healthy, C.J. Spiller has a lot to smile about. (USATSI)

I just finished the preseason outlooks for the Bills, and the player of interest for all Fantasy owners is obviously C.J. Spiller. So let's take a closer look at his potential for this year.

Spiller was clearly a bust in 2013. He was drafted at No. 5 overall on average in the first round but finished as the No. 27 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, behind such stalwarts as Donald Brown, Rashard Mendenhall and Rashad Jennings. His backfield teammate, Fred Jackson, was No. 10.

There were several factors that contributed to Spiller's failure after he was a star in 2012 with 1,700 total yards and eight touchdowns before dropping to 1,100 total yards and two touchdowns last year. None bigger was his health.

He dealt with a preseason knee injury, a quad injury in Week 3 and then an ankle injury in Week 4, which he never fully recovered from. Coach Doug Marrone told me at the NFL owners meeting in March that "health" was the biggest problem for Spiller in 2013.

"I'm curious to see him when he's healthy and doesn't have those nagging injuries," Marrone said. "Those injuries kept him back a little bit. He was in a tough position. He wasn't in a position where he wanted to take a couple of weeks off. He's not that type of kid. He wants to play. He would feel like he would let down the team. He'd fight and come back every week and play. He's a playmaker, and we want to get him to make more plays."

Jackson staying healthy was another problem. He played in only 10 games in 2012, which allowed Spiller to have a more featured role, but Jackson gutted through his own ailments last year to play every game. It was the first time since 2010 that Jackson, 33, played more than 10 games, so there's a good chance he could miss time this year.

But Spiller is now a risky Fantasy option for many owners, especially those who were burned in 2013. He goes from a first-round pick last year to more of a Round 3 or 4 selection now. In our latest mock draft, Spiller was drafted at No. 31 overall.

I'm still willing to gamble on Spiller as a No. 2 running back, but I understand the potential downfall. He has one good season in his four-year career, Jackson is still in Buffalo and he might never live up to his immense level of talent.

But if he does, and you draft him in Round 3 or later, then he could be the difference maker for your Fantasy championship.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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