William Powell: Cardinals and Fantasy Owners Must Start RB vs. Bills

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30:  William Powell #33 of the Arizona Cardinals jumps over a tackle by Olivier Vernon #50 of the Miami Dolphins at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

With Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells both out of commission, the Arizona Cardinals and fantasy owners would be foolish not to start former undrafted running back William Powell.

The NFL is all about opportunities and finding that next superstar. Just ask the Houston Texans, who found an elite runner in undrafted Arian Foster. It doesn't matter where you went to school or what round you were drafted, if at all. All that matters in the NFL is production. 

Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows his team needs a spark as it hosts a Buffalo Bills team flying cross-country for the second consecutive week. The Cardinals were embarrassed on national television on the road in St. Louis in Week 5. In order to right the ship, they need to establish a running game to keep the Bills' potent offense on the sidelines. 

Powell was solid for the Cardinals in the preseason, rushing for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns. The regular season is an all-new beast, but the stakes are just as high. In the preseason, Powell was fighting for a roster spot. Now, he's fighting to be a starting superstar and fend off veteran teammate LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Working in Powell's favor is that Arizona Republic's Kent Somers reports the Cardinals don't view Stephens-Howling as an every-down back. 

It's hoped that Stephens-Howling will be able to play on Sunday against the Bills. But even when he's healthy, Stephens-Howling is not viewed as an every-down back. The Cardinals think he tends to wear down during the season, and with his small size (5-7, 185), he's not built to carry the ball 15 times a game.

Powell shouldn't take any solace in that report, though, as the NFL is an ever-changing beast. He needs to get out there and do his job: produce. However, fantasy owners must take note of Somers' report, as one would have to believe Powell gets the majority of carries and the first shot at making a real name for himself against the Bills.

Powell hasn't been impressive to start the season in large part because Wells and Williams were commanding starting roles. Last week against the Rams, Powell suffered a head injury, but Rotoworld's Staff reports that he has been practicing this week and will be ready to go.

Young players dream of these situations each day. They strive for an opportunity to show they are the real deal and ready to command a starting role. It is impossible to teach hustle and hunger. Powell has both, and Whisenhunt must start him Sunday.