The results of Fred Jackson’s Monday MRI were not conclusive, but CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweeted that he’s expected to miss at least four weeks in a “best case scenario.” Jackson injured his right knee early in the Bills’ Week 1 loss to the Jets, and it’s believed that he has at least a sprained LCL, but reports from Buffalo on Monday indicate it could be another 7-10 days before we know the full extent of the damage.
While it appears the hard-luck Jackson has avoided a season-ending ACL tear, it’s obviously not good news for his fantasy owners. It opens the door for backup C.J. Spiller to reprise the role he played throughout the second half of last year and as Buffalo’s lead back after Jackson went down on Sunday.
Spiller erupted for 169 yards on just 14 carries in Week 1, including a 56-yard touchdown run shortly after Jackson went down on which he broke a couple of tackles before sprinting to the end zone. Spiller is an explosive back in space, and he performed at an elite level last year as the Bills’ No. 1 back for the final six games of the season. In that stretch, he averaged a whopping 6.1 yards per carry, scored five touchdowns, and also chipped in four catches and 31 receiving yards per game.
In other words, as long as you prudently handcuffed Spiller to Jackson on draft day, you’re going to be just fine. The uninspiring Tashard Choice now becomes Spiller’s top backup until Jackson is healthy. You’ll have no choice but to keep Jackson on your roster for at least the next week-to-10-days until we get a better feel for the full extent of his injury.
Over the next four games, Spiller should find plenty of success against the Chiefs, Browns, and Patriots (all of whom were in the bottom half of the NFL against opposing RBs last year), before he’ll be on your fantasy bench in Week 5 against the absurdly strong 49ers run defense.
And if Jackson’s injury is more severe than we’ve been led to believe, it’s possible he’ll either miss the entire remainder of the season and/or Spiller will be good enough over the next month-plus that Jackson will never regain his starting spot. Consider this Exhibit A of why it’s always prudent to draft handcuffs for your top fantasy RBs.