Bilal Powell will once again share the backfield for the Jets in 2018, but this time his new partner is Isaiah Crowell instead of Matt Forte, who retired. The Jets also have Thomas Rawls, Elijah McGuire and rookie Trenton Cannon, so this could be a messy situation. Still, the one thing that helps Powell is his ability to catch the ball, and he has at least 47 receptions in two of the past three years. Powell had double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his final five games in 2017, and hopefully he can build off that performance to start this year. He projects as a No. 3 Fantasy running back at best in all formats, but he's better suited as a No. 4 option given the time share for the Jets. Powell is only worth drafting with a late-round pick, with his value slightly higher in PPR.
Powell rushed six times for 17 yards and caught both of his targets for 20 more in Thursday's 15-13 preseason loss to Washington. Powell operated as New York's clear-cut top running back with Isaiah Crowell (concussion) sidelined. He couldn't get much going on the ground with the offensive line struggling, but Powell flashed his receiving chops with catches of nine and 11 yards. It wouldn't be surprising to see Powell exceed last season's total of 23 catches, considering he finished with 58 receptions in 2016.
Powell rushed six times for five yards and added a seven-yard reception on his lone target in Friday's 17-0 preseason win over Atlanta. Powell split time with offseason acquisition Isaiah Crowell during New York's first two drives. Crowell capped the second drive with a touchdown reception, but he went to the locker room after the play to be evaluated for a concussion. With third-stringer Elijah McGuire sidelined by a broken foot, Powell would open the season as the clear-cut starter if Crowell's injury proves to be serious. Otherwise, Powell and Crowell will likely operate in a timeshare.
Powell could lose out on a starting role in 2018 after the Jets signed Isaiah Crowell to a three-year contract Wednesday, Calvin Watkins of Newsday reports. Powell averaged 4.3 yards and scored five times on 178 carries last season, but his involvement in the passing game took a massive downturn from 105 catches between 2015 and 2016 to only 23 in 2017. With Crowell likely ticketed for early down work, it's fair to wonder if Powell might eventually be released, a move that would save the Jets $4 million while incurring an $883,334 dead cap charge, per OverTheCap.com. The Jets then would use Elijah McGuire or a free agent/draft pick as their passing-down complement to Crowell.
The Jets view Powell as a "complementary" running back, Rich Cimini of ESPN reports. It's tempting to pencil Powell in as the Jets' featured ball carrier ahead of the 2018 season when considering teammate Matt Forte (knee) is a likely candidate to be released this offseason. However, it seems prudent to temper any and all expectations of that notion coming to fruition until after the team's running back corps is settled, as the Jets reportedly believe Powell is most effective when he doesn't need to consistently carry a heavy workload. There's thus a strong possibility the team adds backfield competition through either free agency or the draft. Meanwhile, 2017 sixth-rounder Elijah McGuire will return alongside Powell and should remain involved in the offense to at least some degree.
Powell rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries and added a 10-yard catch during Sunday's 26-6 loss to New England. Powell was to get a bigger share of touches on Sunday with Matt Forte placed on injured reserve, but ended up with a more modest outing after New England took the run away early with a big lead. Powell finished the season with at least 50 total yards in three of his final five games and three touchdowns. He ran hot and cold, but still ended up with an impressive 942 total yards for 2017. He figures to see a similar change-of-pace type role in 2018.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|12||11/25||New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|16||12/23||Green Bay Packers||16||17.38|
|17||12/30||@New England Patriots||17||17.47|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||126||602||3||43||315||1||113|