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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fantasy football: C.J. Spiller's value, plus buy and sell

In a column that will be posted online Friday night, I wrote about the Madden cover jinx and the fear it will strike Calvin Johnson this season.

Being a creative soul (or a cliche-filled one; whatever works), I turned it into a game of buy and sell.

The Cliffs Notes version of the column: I'm buying the Madden Curse is strong enough to take out Megatron, that Robert Griffin III is an every-week fantasy starter and Reggie Wayne is again a very good fantasy receiver with Andrew Luck under center. What I'm selling (and, boy, do I have a deal for you): Alfred Morris is going to be a productive running back for fantasy hater Mike Shanahan this season, Kevin Ogletree is the next Laurent Robinson and Randy Moss will be a fantasy starter.

One more item to buy, and this one wasn't included in the column: C.J. Spiller, at least until Fred Jackson returns, is an elite fantasy running back.

Jackson is expected to miss at least three weeks with a right knee injury. One quarter into 2012, he was injured, and the ailment occurred after a 2011 season in which Jackson sat out the Bills' final six games with a broken right leg.

He told reporters he would be back in "four weeks ... without a doubt."

If you were smart (or lucky) enough to draft Spiller in the middle rounds, he's a must-start until Jackson returns -- and he might be a decent flex play even if Jackson is healthy.

With Jackson out for Buffalo's final six games last season, Spiller rushed for 446 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught 24 passes for 187 yards and two scores.

Combine those numbers with Spiller's stats from Sunday (169 yards rushing, one TD and two receptions for 25 yards) and you have the following: In seven games with Jackson out or injured for the majority of the contest (Week 1), Spiller has rushed for 615 yards and four scores and caught 26 passes for 212 yards and two TDs.

Six TDs in seven games. An average of 118 total yards per contest. A 16-game pace of 1,406 rushing yards, 59 receptions for 485 yards and 14 total TDs.

Those are elite running back numbers.

If you have Spiller, start him regardless of the matchup. If you have Spiller and not Jackson, try to acquire Jackson while his value is low. That way, you're covered if one (possibly Jackson again?) is injured.

A few more buy and sell items, express checkout style:

BUY: Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is a No. 2 fantasy back until Bill Belichick decides otherwise, and Falcons receiver Julio Jones could be the No. 2 receiver in all of fantasy -- or No. 1 if the dreaded Madden Curse strikes again.

SELL: Lions running back Kevin Smith (seriously, sell him now, before he gets hurt) and Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (he was impressive in Week 1 and is worth a roster spot, but I wouldn't get too excited).

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