I can't walk away from C.J. Spiller
Even though Fred Jackson is back in Buffalo in 2014, C.J. Spiller is the running back to covet.
Tuesday was one of those occasions at the NFL owners meetings.
I asked Buffalo coach Doug Marrone what happened to Spiller in 2013 and what his expectations are for this season. He said exactly what I wanted to hear -- as an addict, of course.
"Health," Marrone said about why Spiller struggled last year. "I'm curious to see him when he's healthy and doesn't have those nagging injuries. 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."
Spiller battled an ankle injury throughout the 2013 season and finished with 201 carries for 927 yards and two touchdowns and 33 catches for 185 yards while missing one game. This was a significant drop-off from his performance in 2012 when he had more than 1,700 total yards and eight touchdowns on just 16 more total touches.
I still believe that, if healthy, Spiller can return to that form, even with Fred Jackson back in 2014. Jackson, 33, finished the 2013 season with 207 carries for 896 yards and nine touchdowns and 47 catches for 387 yards and one touchdown. He impressed Marrone last year.
"When we were in training camp, I didn't know if Fred was going to perform at the level he performed at before," Marrone said. "All of the sudden the season came, and I was like, wow. When the season came, he was outstanding. He really, really played extremely well, and he's probably one of the toughest players I've ever been around."
Call me crazy, but I would still draft Spiller as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in Round 3 or 4. He still has the potential to be a star, especially if he can stay healthy. Jackson also can produce at a high level, and I would draft him in Round 6 or 7 as a flex option.
But Spiller's the one I can't get away from. He keeps drawing me back in, and I hope this time there's a reward waiting at the end.
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