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.
Powell is expected to handle a larger share of snaps Sunday against the Patriots after the Jets placed Matt Forte (knee) on injured reserve Saturday, ESPN.com reports. Forte had been battling the knee injury for much of the season, but had suited up for each of the Jets' last five games as part of a three-headed backfield timeshare that also included Powell and Elijah McGuire. The latter two players should handle the bulk of the snaps in Week 17 with Forte unavailable, but Powell seems like the better bet to deliver more fantasy value. Powell has logged double-digit carries in all of the previous four contests, highlighted by a 145-yard rushing effort in the Week 16 loss to the Chargers. McGuire, meanwhile, hasn't earned more than five carries in any game during that stretch.
Powell is a candidate to see a majority of the running back reps Sunday against the Chargers with Matt Forte (knee) and Elijah McGuire (illness) both questionable for the game, Ricky Henne of the Chargers' official site reports. Both Forte and McGuire were unable to practice this week, a development that boosts the prospects of Powell in the penultimate game of the 2017 season. Over the course of the campaign, Powell has a slight lead on Forte in total offensive snaps -- 344 versus 336 -- while McGuire is a distant third with 228. If even one of Forte or McGuire is deemed inactive Sunday, Powell is the obvious candidate to scoop up at least a share of the available work. Furthering Powell's cause this weekend is a matchup with the Chargers defense, which has conceded 4.4 YPC and seven rushing touchdowns to running backs this season.
|* 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|