Last year, C.J. Anderson burst onto the scene, averaging 4.7 yards-a-carry and scoring 10 total touchdowns in 15 games for the Broncos. He was so good that they straight-up dumped former second-round draft pick Montee Ball onto the street after training camp.
To say Anderson’s 2015 season has gotten off to an inauspicious start would be…an understatement. Through the first two games, the Broncos’ top back has toted the ball 24 times for just 56 yards and hasn’t yet found pay dirt. That’s a paltry 2.3 yards-per-carry, folks. While that number might make Trent Richardson envious, it’s not exactly what you’re looking for from the guy you probably used a first- or second-round pick on this year. To compare, his backup, Ronnie Hillman, has 21 carries for 75 yards.
Hillman has looked fairly spry, while Anderson looks like he’s slugging through the mud. What gives? Of course, Hillman is more of a scat back while Anderson has some thickness to him, but that still doesn’t explain why Anderson appears to be operating in slow motion. He did miss a practice earlier this week with a toe and an ankle injury, but one the game rolled around Thursday night, there was really no question he was going to be ready to play.
Sure, it’s early, but the question should be asked: Should you trade C.J. Anderson right now? Things are looking rather bleak for him, especially when you consider he’s essentially splitting carries with Hillman. And considering how much better Hillman has looked, Anderson’s role could continue to diminish.
Of course, if you do try and trade him now, you’re selling as low as low gets. He’s a guy with a pretty abbreviated track record of success, and I can’t imagine you’re going to be able to fetch much quality in return. It also depends on what kind of bench you’ve got behind him. If you’ve got Anderson blocking the path of someone like a Chris Ivory? Then it’s probably time to bench Anderson.
Running back is super thin from a fantasy perspective, though, and having RB depth on your roster isn’t a commodity afforded to all. Injuries happen by the boatload on a weekly basis in this game, and you’ll never know when you may be forced to pluck someone off your bench and slide them into your lineup.
Denver’s entire offense has looked pretty meh through two games, though let’s not forget they’re still learning an entirely new system. Perhaps they’re just working out the kinks. They’re off to about the least-inspiring 2-0 start you will ever see.
It also seems pretty evident that they’re not going to be able to ride the noodle-arm of Peyton Manning as much as they have in years past. Unless they generate some sort of running attack, they’re going to be toast. We saw last season what Anderson is capable of, and it’s not like he just randomly lost all of his ability at age 24.
Given how early it is, I wouldn’t panic trade him right now. If someone is offering you something insane in return, then, by all means, ship him out. But in the meantime, if you have the depth, I’d plop him on the bench and see if he can get it going. If nothing else, perhaps he can build his value enough to where you can actually get something decent back.