By Zack Cimini
First round draft picks by position are often compared and linked to each other from day one to when the separation occurs between the two. It makes the value of a draft even better. Fantasy owners besides dynasty drafts are usually fairly hesitant on when to nab a rookie. Playing time and usual rookie woes can leave an average draft position of a player at a high variable. Nonetheless this years 2010 draft featured two backs taken that figure to be instant impact guys to their offense. CJ Spiller for the Buffalo Bills and Ryan Matthews of the San Diego Chargers. This is a conundrum that we like to compare to Robert Edwards and Fred Taylor way back in 1998. Two rookies that stormed on the scene and made all fantasy owners very happy. Can this happen again with Spiller and Matthews?
Both teams offenses are opposites on how they are going to get things done. Buffalo has more of a methodical approach which could bode well for Spiller. The pros with him are there should be plenty of games of twenty plus carries. The obvious cons are that the Bills tend to rank near the bottom of offensive production due to their glaring weakness at quarterback. Spiller could have a tough time with yards per carry and getting the most wanted points from fantasy owners in touchdowns.
A special talent as himself though should be able too boost this teams offensive presence. Owners worried about Fred Jackson shouldn’t be. No team invests that high of a draft pick to not give that investment every opportunity to earn the millions on his contract. If anything Jackson will compliment Spiller and the Bills need to sustain drives with long drawn out possessions. Marshawn Lynch is still hanging around as well but we expect Buffalo to eventually seek some sort of trade and bolster their roster in a different area.
With Ryan Matthews he has to come in and fill the big shoes of future Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson. Matthews will have to deal with a fiery quarterback that will be quick to give the rookie an earful. Pressure is definitely on him to not be the cog for an offense that has been prolific dating back to the Drew Brees days. Philip Rivers takes more of a burden off of maybe any running back backfield in the NFL. He stretches defenses as just as high as Peyton Manning and last season hooked up with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates deep down the field at an alarming pace. Matthews might be one of those rookie backs that struggles to get consistent chunk yards, but evens that out by breaking off a burner.
So with that in mind will stick to the order that these two players were drafted. Many fantasy owners are going to feel more comfortable selecting Matthews over Spiller, but we do believe Spiller will outperform Matthews in yards and touchdowns. Buffalo is never going to stop running the football no matter the situation as they’ve proved the past five years.
Fred Jackson knows more than most as he has had a ton of garbage touchdowns and fourth quarter rushing yards over the past few seasons. San Diego on the other hand will turn the ball to Philip Rivers and let him throw ala Andy Reid’s play calls if they have too. Stick with Spiller folks.