The Detroit Lions made a bold move to get Jameson Williams, but what are the rookie wide receivers fantasy football prospects for 2022 and beyond?
The Detroit Lions went and got one of their guys in the first round of the draft, trading up 20 spots to select Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams at No. 12 overall. They now have a deep threat who can take the top off a defense.
Williams had a huge lone season at Alabama after transferring from Ohio State, with 79 catches for an SEC-leading 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also led the conference with an average of 19.9 yards per catch.
Of Williams’ 15 touchdowns, 11 came on passes that traveled at least 15 air yards. That’s enough to make him a poor match for Lions quarterback Jared Goff, who didn’t thrown downfield (20-plus yards) much or very accurately last season even with a late-season surge in his level of play. There’s also plenty of competition for targets in the Detroit offense (Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson, D’Andre Swift, DJ Chark, Josh Reynolds).
Jameson Williams Fantasy Football Profile
Dave Richard of CBS Sports had an interesting set of data on Williams’ 2021 season.
- caught 22 of 45 targets (49% catch rate) on passes of 15-plus Air Yards for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those plays accounted for 28% of his receptions, 62% of his yardage and 73% of his touchdowns in 2021.
So much production driven so much by downfield passes, especially the yardage and touchdowns, has to be an immediate concern for Williams’ rookie season to some degree. Goff would have to completely shift his mode, to say nothing of what his actual capabilities are, to fully unleash Williams in 2022.
Oh, as if I could forget, Williams suffered a torn ACL in January’s national championship. He is apparently progressing nicely in his recovery though, and wants to be ready for training camp. But ready for training camp does not for sure mean ready for Week 1, and Williams is likely to miss at least a couple games.
Add a few missed games to competition for targets to boom-or-bust potential matched with a quarterback who doesn’t fit a big chunk of what he does best, and Williams can’t be confidently drafted as more than a WR5 in re-draft leagues as a rookie. In dynasty leagues, however, he’s legitimately a top-five overall rookie with an eye on his best play coming in 2023 and beyond.