Sleeper alert: Bilal Powell

After closely studying the initial ADPs this year for the ADP article we posted on Friday and seeing how fantasy owners are scarfing up RBs like it’s going out of style, one of my main missions this year is to find some RBs who have a chance to be impactful but aren’t getting any love, and I have one in AFC East.

With veteran Mike Goodson having an ugly off-season that includes a May 17 arrest in New Jersey on drug and weapons charges, which could result in prison time, and a new paternity suit being filed this week (and he has others), it’s time to start talking about a potential sleeper RB for the Jets: Bilal Powell.

Goodson is still on the roster and has the speed they need in their backfield, but between his off-field issues and injury history, he’s very hard to count on. They obviously brought former Saint Chris Ivory in to be their lead back, and Ivory does run very hard and has good explosiveness for power back. But he’s also dealt with a multitude of injuries, despite never coming close to carrying the load for a rushing attack.

Bilal Powell was a solid goal line back in 2012, but he can also catch the ball and produce in the passing game.

At 5’10, 204 pounds, Powell is the incumbent here, and while his career hasn’t blown anyone away thus far, he’s not a bad player. In 2012, he emerged as an effective goal line back, and for a time in the second half of the season last year, he emerged as the goal line back over Shonn Greene. Powell had five carries inside the 10 yard line last year, and he scored on three of those carries. If he got the ball inside the 5 in 2012, he scored a TD. He had six games last year in which he had double-digit carries, and he averaged a solid 4.2 yards per carry in those games. In addition, Powell can catch the ball and pose a threat in the passing game. Although his catch rate for the season was a miserable 47.2% (keep in mind the Jets were horrendous on offense), he did improve greatly in the second half of the season and posted a solid 68.4% catch rate. He was able to average a very serviceable 8.2 yards per catch on his 17 grabs in 2012.

Powell hasn’t proven to be an iron man thus far, so injuries are slight concern (he missed two games last year), but they’re a greater concern for Ivory. If Goodson isn’t in the mix this year for the Jets, I have to think Powell will be a large factor in this offense, especially since Ivory has only 3 career receptions in 24 career games. Keep in mind former Eagle coach Marty Mornhinweg is the new OC for the Jets, so they should be throwing the ball to their backs. Even if Goodson is on the roster, Powell has better size for short-yardage work, and Goodson himself also has durability issues. I’m sure Ivory will be the main guy, and I’m sure he’ll be on the field running violently come September. But will he be able to hold up in the process? That is a major question.

I’m not saying Powell is a great breakout candidate, but especially for those in larger and deeper leagues, it’s time to put him on the radar as a legitimate deep sleeper and a guy who could easily be very handy for fantasy in 2013.

Category: Fantasy Football

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One Response

  1. Joe Riopel says:

    This is why I have been a subscriber since hearing you on NFL radio on Fridays. No stone left unturned

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