For a deeper review of players that are either new to the scene or playing differently than expected, Double Coverage will give the respective views of John Tuvey (Start Bench List) and David Dorey (Game Predictions and Player Projections). We'll bring 47 years of combined fantasy football experience to bear and hopefully a few things to think about as you manage your fantasy team.
RB Bilal Powell (NYJ)
TUVEY: Another touchdown for Powell; that’s three in two games. He’s essentially splitting carries with Shonn Greene, with back-to-back games of double-digit carries and a total of three such games on the season. Also worth noting is that in each game where he’s received at least 10 carries, he’s also caught at least two passes. The Jets’ schedule against the run is quite favorable the rest of the way, so where we were cautiously optimistic about Greene earlier now we’re just as guardedly excited about Powell. That they’re dividing the workload is unfortunate, but at this point in the season any chance to grab a back who’ll get you a dozen touches and is getting work done at the stripe… well, you gotta take it.
DOREY: I kinda like Powell. He was the 4.29 pick in 2011 but only had 13 carries last year. Ran for 1330 yards and 10 touchdowns as a Senior at Louisville. In all honesty, what I like most about Powell is that he is not Shonn Greene who I have never liked and never understood why the Jets stand so firmly behind him. But - they are using Powell more and it is not just the Greene show. He ran for 42 yards on 11 runs and scored twice in St. Louis in week 11. And he just scored again on Thursday night against the Patriots when he ran 12 times to Greene's 14 carries. And Powell was the goal line back. Greene also took a few cracks at a short yardage touchdown and was denied each attempt. I cannot image that Powell will turn into a primary back for the Jets or anyone, but for the rest of the year he should see committee work and is becoming a nice scorer. Yeah, I started him this week and in SOFA he got me 13.3 points. Not great expectations really but he has some value now.
RB Jalen Parmele (JAC)
TUVEY: Like Powell, Parmele is facing a favorable schedule the rest of the way. Like Powell, there’s a chance another back other than Parmele might be taking advantage of that schedule. In Parmele’s case, though, it’s the talented Maurice Jones-Drew who could usurp his touches. Will MJD bother coming back from a foot injury? After seeing Parmele bang out 80 yards against a pretty good Texans defense, he’s worth a stash should Jones-Drew decide his lowball contract isn’t worth risking more damage or pain to his foot.
DOREY: So far the best quality of Parmele is that he is not Rashad Jennings. Last week in the surreal Houston-Jacksonville game, Parmele ran for 80 yards on 24 carries and caught three passes for three yards. That was a 3.3 yards per carry average. Parmele was drafted by the Dolphins, released and then spent four years with the Ravens where he totaled just seven carries. He really has not done anything more than not be Jennings. But - The Jags season is already over and what makes him interesting to me is that he gets to play against the Titans this week. Then Maurice Jones-Drew is expected back maybe next week. But Jones-Drew has no real impetus to return really. He held out in a spectacularly failed attempt to get more money, then once again provided all of the Jags offense and got hurt. He won't be back next year most likely. So yeah, he has to be thinking why would I subject myself to another injury - career-ending maybe - for nothing. The season is over. So I expect Parmele to get the start this week and maybe more. And to be mixed in for the rest of the year. And then the fifth-year back will probably have had his only real playing time in the NFL and then do nothing else in his career. He's been around since 2008. He's no rookie with no track record. He's a journey-man running back and the last man standing in Jacksonville right now.
RB Ronnie Hillman (DEN)
TUVEY: Willis McGahee just hit Injured Reserve, leaving the Broncos’ backfield workload up for grabs. Hillman looks like he’ll get first shot, but he’ll need to prove capable in pass protection to remain on the field. He was the lead dog last week after McGahee went down, with a dozen carries and two catches for 59 yards. Lance Ball might grab goal line work, and Knowshon Moreno lurks as well. That’s a whole lot of cooks in the kitchen, plus Denver worked out Steve Slaton after McGahee went down so there could be another chef joining the mix. Hillman has upside, to be sure, but he won’t be the focal point of the offense. And if he can’t keep the actual focal point, Peyton Manning, upright he won’t be long for the field. And that, in turn, makes him more of a risk than the other surging backs you might be able to grab off your waiver wire.
DOREY: Willis McGahee goes down and Hillman becomes a player of interest. The reality here is that Hillman is going to share with not only Lance "Butter" Ball, but also Knowshon Moreno. How much mostly depends on the success of each runner. Hillman was drafted 3.04 this year as the lightning to McGahee's thunder. He's only 5-9, 190 lbs. but was a star at San Diego State for two years where he gained over 1500 rushing yards both seasons and scored a total of 36 touchdowns. Hillman is also a good receiver though he has just 10 catches on the season. His problem is that he only played two years in college and is still raw. His weight doesn't bother me - Chris Johnson weighs 191 lbs and he's 5-11. I would love to own Hillman in a dynasty league and even a redraft to see what happens. He'll have to really shine to get enough of a work load away from the others. But he has this week in KC, then TB, @OAK, @BAL and CLE. Not too bad other than the Ravens game. Manning has that offense productive enough that any runner would have an easier time since the defense has to respect the pass. I am expecting Hillman to have some good moments and even a nice game or two but overall still seem raw and not able to take a big chunk of the workload. But I want to see what happens while he is on my team if possible.