Debate: How Many Runners Are Better Than C.J. Spiller?


Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller has enjoyed a break-out season in 2012 despite his lack of touches. Where has he ranked among NFL running backs this season?

This week, Gillette is asking NFL fans to debate about which player has been the offensive MVP in 2012. Naturally, no Buffalo Bills players qualify for that type of discussion. The only player worth bringing up, C.J. Spiller, is wholly overshadowed by Adrian Peterson at his position.

There's no debate, either, about who has been Buffalo's offensive MVP; Spiller has been the only player consistently worth a damn on a weekly basis this season, and that's the base line of his worth. He's had an awesome season, despite the fact that he's not given the football enough, and despite the fact that he's not on the field enough when Fred Jackson is healthy.

Our question for the gang today, then, is this: has there been a better runner in the NFL this season than Spiller aside from Peterson? It's not an easy question to answer, but consider the following facts:

  • Spiller currently ranks No. 9 in the NFL with 1,185 rushing yards this season. He's 305 yards behind the second guy on the list (Marshawn Lynch), and just four yards away from a No. 7 ranking.
  • He's the only runner in the Top 10 with fewer than 200 carries (he's at 183 through 15 games), and the only runner that averages fewer than 16 carries per game (he's at a paltry 12.2 average).
  • Spiller ranks second in the NFL in runs of 20 or more yards (his 12 trail Peterson's incredible 23), and also in runs of 40 or more yards (Peterson has eight, while Spiller and Jamaal Charles each have five).
  • His 6.5 yards per carry average ranks second to only rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is averaging 6.6 per tote on his 114 carries. (Peterson averages 6.0 yards per carry.)
  • Only two runners in the NFL's Top 25 average fewer carries per game than Spiller, and they're both quarterbacks: Griffin and Cam Newton.
  • Spiller's six rushing touchdowns rank him in a tie for No. 15 in the NFL; of the eight runners with more rushing yardage, six of them have double-digit running scores, with the exception being Charles (who has five).

Touchdowns are really the only downfall for Spiller in an otherwise amazing running season. Where then, does he rank in a group of runners that includes Lynch, Charles, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Stevan Ridley, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Ray Rice and BenJarvus Green-Ellis this season?

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