Before we discuss the possibility of trading CJ Spiller — the guy who currently ranks as fantasy's highest-scoring non-quarterback — I'd like to state unequivocally that I'm a fan of his work. Huge fan. Longtime fan. A giggly, squealing, obnoxious fan. Almost a stalker.
Spiller led me to a pair of fantasy titles last season, so I've already profited from his talents. This is an explosive player with terrific speed, an excellent receiver, a tackle-breaking machine. Spiller is the most dangerous Bill on the field at all times. This week, he's the No. 2 running back on my board, an obvious play in any format.
To be clear, for the record: I ♥ CJ Spiller.
But I'm also tossing his name on the trade block wherever possible, because some of you are getting filthy returns.
Over the past three days, I've fielded questions from fantasy owners about the following Spiller deals:
Megatron for Spiller
Spiller for DeMarco Murray
Marshawn Lynch for Spiller
Spiller and Brent Celek for Jimmy Graham and Matt Forte
Matt Schaub, Andrew Luck and Spiller for Tom Brady, RGIII and Reggie Bush (in a two-QB league)
In each of those proposed trades, I like the side that's giving up CJ.
Again, it's not that Spiller isn't a serious talent, but there's a non-trivial chance that his value is peaking right now, this week. He leads the NFL in rushing, he has a friendly match-up on the horizon (at Cleveland), and Fred Jackson's recovery timetable isn't yet known. Spiller is an easy player to sell. There's probably an 0-2 owner in your league who's focused exclusively on Week 3, and is eager to shuffle his or her roster.
When making fantasy trades (and real-life trades), the goals are generally to buy low, sell high, address needs, and to obtain the most valuable asset(s) involved in the deal. As great as Spiller looks at the moment, his long-range forecast is tricky. Jackson has apparently made considerable progress, and we have to assume that he'll have a share of the rushing workload when he returns.
Will that mean eight touches per game for Fred? Ten? Twelve? We can't say for sure, but it's going to be something. The next time Buffalo gives 20 carries to Spiller will be the first.
We should also note that the Bills' schedule won't do CJ many favors beyond this week. In Buffalo's next seven games, they'll face five opponents that rank among the league's top-eight in run defense: New England twice, San Francisco, Houston and Miami. Plus the team visits Arizona in Week 6, and the Cards have allowed just 3.4 yards per carry. So the sledding gets rough.
I'm not issuing an urgent sell order on Spiller, but I definitely think you should explore the trade market, just to see what might be available. It won't be Calvin Johnson in all leagues, clearly, and you don't need to jump on the first trade offer that hits your inbox. Let's just think past the current week. Most of you didn't actually draft CJ as a starter, so you may have viable alternatives on your roster already. If you're not shopping, then you're not trying.