Is David Wilson the next CJ Spiller?
Like Spiller, Wilson is an electric back that can explode around the corner with great acceleration. While not quite as fast as Spiller, there is little doubt in my mind that Wilson is just as big a threat to take any particular carry to the house.
While dynamic like Spiller, the report on Wilson from his college days was that he runs with more power. The limited footage of Wilson’s rookie season appears to be bearing this out. Wilson’s inside game and power may be better suited for taking on a greater feature back workload (and the all important goal line work) than Spiller’s.
Spiller’s advantage over Wilson at this point was/is Spiller’s ability as a receiver. If you recall, Spiller’s receiving skills were so good that Buffalo even dabbled using Spiller as a slot receiver (the reverse Percy Harvin). In PPR, Spiller’s receiving ability can potentially make all the difference in the world. While I don’t think Wilson will ever match Spiller in that area, I do believe he’ll receive enough screen passes and dump offs in the flat to be a fantastic PPR running back.
As for their situations following their rookie seasons, the two backs are very similar in that regard. Like Spiller, Wilson played as a backup his rookie year. In Wilson’s case, he barely saw the field for most of the year (due to one inopportune fumble landing him in the dog house). Both players made their marks as gifted kickoff returners. Both were seemingly underutilized but destined to do much more.
Like the Bills’ situation going into 2011, the Giants’ backfield has the looks of an RBBC going into 2013 as well. I’d say, however, that Wilson’s situation today is superior to that of Spiller’s in 2011 from an opportunity perspective and a standpoint of how that situation is likely to affect Wilson’s value following 2013. Bradshaw for one is the walking wounded, and even when healthy, Wilson may prove to be too good to keep in an RBBC. Bradshaw, while turning only 27, is not nearly the back that Fred Jackson was at age 30 (and is not even the back that Bradshaw himself was just a few years ago). Bradshaw does not present the obstacle to Wilson’s ascension to a starting role that Jackson did to Spiller’s. Advantage Wilson. Spiller ended up playing behind Fred Jackson in Year 2 until Jackson got hurt, after which Spiller strutted his stuff. I think Wilson can do the same if/when given the same opportunity. By the way, in case he crossed your mind, I don’t believe Andre Brown poses any real threat to Wilson in that regard.
From a performance standpoint, while both backs did little in their rookie seasons, Wilson showed more. Spiller believers were left to latch onto his performances in college to support their continued faith in him, while Wilson supporters at least have some NFL footage to go by as well. Unfortunately, this means that David Wilson may not come at the same discount that Spiller did back in 2011, but I don’t think Wilson is that much more hyped than Spiller was either. Wilson is still obtainable by trade (albeit at a price perceived by many to be highly inflated – personally, I think he is still way undervalued).
In any event, I am not here to tell you that Wilson is now or will be in a few years better than Spiller from a skills or performance perspective. I believe Spiller is still on the rise. Wilson will not be out-producing Spiller any time soon. I’m not about to be so bold to tell you that Wilson is more talented than Spiller. Spiller may be the most talented back in the NFL.
What I am saying though is that Wilson’s dynasty value has a very good chance of surpassing that of Spiller if not by the end of this year, then by the end of the next; and it is all made possible by the greatest equalizer in dynasty fantasy football, age.
At this point in Spiller’s career (i.e., after his rookie year), Spiller was 23. Wilson is only 21. That’s a 2 year advantage to Wilson, a significant advantage to say the least. Take Spiller today, a fantastic young RB (25 going on 26) with the promise of a great career ahead of him. His dynasty value is already a top 12 overall player as it should be. Now, imagine if Spiller were just 23 going on 24 (which is what Wilson would be after his third year). What would his value be then? Arguably, the #1 player overall!
Wilson has two years to equal what Spiller has done up to this point, which is to produce a fantasy season commensurate with an RB1. That certainly is no easy feat, but I do believe that there is a very good chance that he will. If he does reach that level of production, I believe he will be considered at that time the #1 player overall in dynasty, a designation carrying with it immense value.
How much is that “potential” worth to you today? For me, it is a top 7 or 8 RB value and a top 20 overall dynasty player. Sound crazy for a running back that has rushed for only 358 yards in his career? Maybe, but I think there is a very good chance that I am STILL undervaluing him at that ranking.