If you look at the final numbers alone, you’d agree that C.J. Spiller is back. While he played in just 23 snaps for Buffalo last weekend (compared to 43 for Fred Jackson) he carried the ball or was targeted on 65% of the plays that he was on the field and finished with 14 touches for 155 total yards. Against a Chiefs defense allowing just 14.37 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses (full disclosure, they are giving up five yards per carry) Spiller looked worthy of the first round pick that the fantasy community invested in him in August.
If you watched the tape you were impressed, too. Spiller demonstrated a quickness that had eluded him through the first seven weeks of the season before taking a one week break to rest his ankle. In particular, he made a number of great cuts on a 61 yard run. With that said, there were at least two instances against Kansas City where he came off the field with a pronounced limp making his clearance as ‘healthy’ a bit of a surprise.
However, Bills trainers are evidently convinced that Spiller is ready to be declared a full go heading into this weekend’s game against the Steelers. Per Joe Buscaglia, the coaching staff welcomes the news.
Spiller is no longer on the injury report and Marrone implied the injury is behind the HB. He’s excited to get Spiller more touches. #Bills
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) November 6, 2013
The timing is right for fantasy owners – Buffalo will face a Steelers team that is giving up the fifth highest per game point total to opposing RBs and is coming out of a matchup where they were gashed by all three New England running backs. With an average of 21.7 PPG yielded and five separate backs topping 15 points against them this season through eight games, Pittsburgh represents a nice matchup for both Buffalo RBs this season.With the assumption that Spiller returns to somewhere near his pre-injury snap count we could see him work back toward 15-18 touches this weekend – he topped 19 in three of the first four weeks of the season. That type of volume against a struggling Steeler defense should yield RB2 returns.
This weekend the Buffalo coaching staff is prepared to take off the bubble-wrap with Spiller, and fantasy owners should be too.
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