It appears that the New York Jets my finally be catching onto a fact that fantasy football enthusiasts could have clued them in to a long time ago: Running back Shonn Greene has all the explosiveness of a Roman candle at the bottom of the ocean.
After slogging his way to a whopping 40 yards on 19 carries against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Jets gave reserve back Bilal Powell his most extensive work of the 2012 campaign.
Powell responded, gaining five more yards on nine fewer carries.
That marks the second consecutive game in which the second-year pro outgained Greene on the ground despite getting fewer carries. Powell has averaged four yards a carry so far this season as opposed to less than three for Greene, and Powell has held onto the rock while Greene has already lost two fumbles.
Did I mention that Powell's also a better receiver out of the backfield and has more catches this year than Greene despite much less playing time?
That statistical disparity has led to speculation that Powell could start eating into Greene's touches going forward. Head coach Rex Ryan was unsurprisingly noncommittal on the subject according to Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News.
“That’s certainly a possibility that we’ll look into,” said Ryan. “We’ll look at anything that will help our team. Has that been discussed? No. We’d like to get him [Greene] going more,” said Ryan. “Without question we’d like to see him get that average up around 4 yards per carry.”
Well Rex, I'd like to win Powerball, but so far it hasn't happened.
This has all the makings of a situation that fantasy owners would be best served to be ahead of the curve on. It's not at all unreasonable to expect that, in addition to his passing-down work, Powell is going to start poaching carries from Greene on early downs like he did in the Dolphins game.
That makes Powell a very attractive waiver-wire target for teams that can spare a roster spot. At worst, you get a third-down back who's on the back-end of a time-share and can at least serve as a bye week fill-in or lower-end flex option.
At best, Powell steals more and more carries from Greene until he becomes the de facto lead back for Gang Green. You just acquired a potential fantasy RB2 on the cheap.
If you wasted (I mean invested) a fantasy draft pick on Shonn Greene, then it's too early to panic and drop him outright, but acquiring Powell as insurance becomes priority number one when you're submitting your waiver wire claims this week. Inquire about a trade if another another snatched him, although you may be better off trying to sell Greene than buy Powell.
Sure, it's possible that Greene could get his act together and hang on to the job. But the San Francisco 49ers and their stingy run defense are coming to town and it's probably not going to be this week. That could swing the pendulum even further towards a change in the backfield in the Big Apple.