Regarding the Jets running game, expect Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley to share the bulk of the load. One of those two might get 20 to 30 carries more than the other guy, but it won't be a huge gap, provided both backs stay healthy all season.
With Chris Johnson out of the way, it looked like Ivory might be one of the more attractive middle round sleepers at his position, but the team’s decision to sign Stevan Ridley has thrown his status up in the air. He’s a career 4.7 YPC runner, and has averaged 4.4 YPC in two seasons with the Jets. It would have made more sense if the Jets had paired Ivory with a speed back/receiving threat like C.J. Spiller, but the arrival of Ridley is a concern. If the two players do indeed split carries, neither will carry much reliable fantasy value.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett estimates the touches in the team's backfield:
Combine that with the four-year, $16 million contract New Orleans gave Ingram this offseason, and I don't expect a dramatic drop-off in his workload in 2015. However, the Saints do have the luxury of keeping Ingram fresh if everyone stays healthy.
Assuming everyone stays healthy, I'll go with something like:
Ingram 240 touches (950-1,000 rushing yards)
C.J. Spiller 150 touches (400-plus rushing yards, 500-plus receiving yards)
Khiry Robinson 90 touches (350-400 rushing yards)
As Senior Editor John Paulsen broke down in The Case for C.J. Spiller, 150 touches (80 carries, 70 catches) would result in a #19 RB finish in PPR formats. Even if the the Saints give Spiller more carries (96) and fewer catches (60), Spiller's projected production would result in a #20 RB finish. Over the last two weeks, Spiller has been the 27th RB off the board in early best ball PPR drafts. Ingram has been the 15th RB taken, so if we assume 1,100 total yards, nine touchdowns and 30 receptions, he would finish with 194 FP (PPR), which happens to match his total from last season. He was the #14 RB in only 13 games played in 2014. A healthy Robinson is a concern for Ingram, however. The Saints wanted to increase Robinson's role prior to his Week 7 injury (fractured arm), so we may see more of an even split in the running game between the two backs if they both stay healthy.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:28pm
Robinson will enter his third season with the Saints as third fiddle with Mark Ingram returning and C.J. Spiller signing with the Saints. The landscape looked quite different one month ago with Ingram being a potentially hot free agent and Pierre Thomas being released.
Ingram will be the clear-cut option for snatching up carries after his breakout 2014 season. Spiller is a far more capable runner in the traditional ground game than Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles the last few seasons.
This means more carries for Ingram and Spiller and less touches for Robinson. The logic entering 2014 was that we'd see more Robinson. Barring injuries, Robinson will likely find fewer opportunities.
“His cutup is unbelievable,” Saints HC Sean Payton said of breaking down C.J. Spiller’s film with the Buffalo Bills. “And I’m not talking about last season because I think it became challenging, but you go back a couple of years and start looking at his screen reel, a sweep reel, a return reel. So when you watch his film you think of a lot of things he can do.
“He’s physical. He’s the most explosive player on the field a lot of times when you’re watching him."
While New Orleans may not be an ideal landing spot from a workload standpoint, Spiller should have a big role in the passing game with Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills no longer on the roster. He’ll likely take over the role of Thomas, who averaged 11.6 touches in the last two seasons. Thomas finished with a top 30 PPG (PPR) in six of the last seven seasons, so that's a reasonable baseline for Spiller. New Orleans running backs caught 275 passes in the last two seasons, so there are plenty of catches to go around. In short, he has significant PPR upside in this offense, but his workload will be somewhat limited since he'll be part of a committee.
Update: It's five-year, $40 million deal that includes $26.5 million guaranteed.
It's said to be a five-year, $40 million contract that includes $26.5 million guaranteed. This looks like a system downgrade for McCoy, who ran much better later in the season once his offensive line started to get healthy. In Buffalo, new HC Rex Ryan and new OC Greg Roman (formerly of San Francisco) both have a history of running ball control, run-first teams, but the Bills have serious quarterback issues. Free agent C.J. Spiller isn't likely to re-sign and the acquisition of McCoy has to be a downgrade for Fred Jackson. As for McCoy, he's still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. Given the way the Eagles like to run the ball, whoever emerges as the starter in Philadelphia will carry early round value.
Nothing can be finalized until next week, but if the trade does indeed go through, it's a blockbuster. This looks like a system downgrade for McCoy, who ran much better later in the season once his offensive line started to get healthy. In Buffalo, new HC Rex Ryan and new OC Greg Roman (formerly of San Francisco) both have a history of running ball control, run-first teams, but the Bills have serious quarterback issues. Free agent C.J. Spiller isn't likely to re-sign and the acquisition of McCoy has to be a downgrade for Fred Jackson. As for McCoy, he's still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. Given the way the Eagles like to run the ball, whoever emerges as the starter in Philadelphia will carry early round value.
Bills RB Bryce Brown – who played in just seven games, rushing 36 times for 126 yards in 2014 – GM Doug Whaley said he’s got a “clean slate” with a new coaching staff led by Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
“We’re excited to see him come in with a clean slate like everybody else and perform like we think he should,” Whaley said.
It doesn't sound as if Whaley is particularly excited about Brown's prospects if C.J. Spiller walks this offseason.
The team will not exercise its option on running back Chris Johnson and he can become an unrestricted free agent on March 10.
Johnson's release is not a surprise, though there are now approximately 179 touches up for grabs in New York. The team has been linked to free agent C.J. Spiller, who had his best season (250 touches, 1703 total yards, eight touchdowns) under new Jets OC Chan Gailey back in 2012. If the Jets sign Spiller, he would form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory, who rushed for 821 yards (on 4.1 YPC) last season.
Running back Mark Ingram is wrapping up the final year of his contract with the team and preparing to head into free agency after his best NFL season. Ingram missed three games early in the season, but has since held up well under a heavy workload caused by injuries other backs. Ingram has set career highs in attempts, yards, receptions and touchdowns and thinks he’s sold himself well in the process.
“Yeah, I think that’s a good thing, seeing that I could carry the ball and be out there doing whatever they ask me to do for a stretch of time and be healthy,” Ingram said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Running backs have not found a friendly market in free agency in recent years, so Ingram will have to buck that trend to land a big contract. That will be tough in a year when DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, C.J. Spiller and Frank Gore are also set to make up a crowded free agent market at the position, but coming off his best pro season shouldn’t hurt when it comes time for Ingram to talk contract.
Ingram's 75.6 rushing yards per game are the 7th-highest this season. He's not going to land a big contract due to how the position has been devalued in recent years, but he should be able to match the three-year, $10.5 million that Toby Gerhart got in Jacksonville. If Ingram leaves, Khiry Robinson figures to take over the role as the team's primary between-the-tackles runner. Robinson is signed through the 2015 season.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 16. Spiller should serve as Fred Jackson’s primary backup, but don’t expect a huge workload. Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon have combined for 12.0 touches in the last four games, so that would seem to be Spiller’s ceiling in his first game back from injury.
He was practicing with his teammates on Wednesday, much as he had for each of the past two weeks. The only difference now is he’s been medically cleared for contact. C.J. Spiller has not yet been added to the 53-man roster from his I-R Designated to return status, but it’s anticipated that will take place later in the week.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone liked the way Spiller performed in practice Wednesday.
“I’m not going to sit up here and see he didn’t look good. He looked good, but he’s still working his way back into the football part of it,” Marrone said.
The Bills are still alive in the playoff hunt, but they'll need some help to make the postseason. If Spiller does play, he probably won't have a big role in his first game back, though he could take over most of the touches that Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown have been getting in the last few weeks. They have combined for 12.0 touches in the last four weeks, so we would expect that would be Spiller's ceiling with Fred Jackson continue to carry the load as the team's primary back.
Marrone did not commit to having Spiller, who has been on injured reserve with a designation to return, play in Sunday's game at the Oakland Raiders.
"I'd like to see more participation before we make that decision," he said.
Spiller returned to practice on Dec. 3 after missing six weeks with a broken collarbone. The Bills had until Dec. 24 to decide whether to place him on their 53-man roster. If Spiller plays, it would likely mean Bryce Brown loses playing time and the Bills ride with Spiller, Fred Jackson and Anthony Dixon.
Spiller’s participation today begins a 21-day practice window in which he can work with coaches and teammates and not count toward the active roster. He cannot be activated until Dec. 16th, the Tuesday after the Packers game, and would be eligible to play in games at that time. A roster move would also need to be made at that time to add Spiller to the 53-man roster.
Fred Jackson owners shouldn't worry too much about Spiller's potential return. Everything has to go right for Spiller to return in Week 16, and even then, he's likely to be limited in his first game back. Jackson is the RB1 in Buffalo for all intents and purposes.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller will be eligible to play in Week 16 after eight weeks on I.R. with an injured collarbone and coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday that the team was optimistic that Spiller will be able to return.
“We’re hoping to see C.J. to start coming back,” Marrone said, via the team’s website. “That designation is coming up.”
Spiller is eligible to resume practicing with the team on Wednesday, although Marrone didn’t say whether or not that would happen. Spiller, who has 287 yards on 69 carries this season, can become a free agent after the season, so a return to action for the end of the season could benefit him as well as the Bills. Spiller would be a very risky fantasy play for your finals in Week 16 - if he even suits up.
Friday, October 24, 2014, 6:26pm
Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 8. Jackson is expected to miss around four weeks with the groin injury. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are likely to split the workload with Jackson sidelined and C.J. Spiller out for most of the year. Dixon was working with the starters in practice, and should see more carries and most of the goal line work, while Brown would serve as the pass-catching speed back.
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