Lions running back Jamaal Williams gaining more traction as a fantasy draft value
Lions running back Jamaal Williams is naturally overlooked in fantasy circles, but he is shaping up to be a very nice value in drafts this year.
With all the fantasy buzz for this year, and times acknowledged downside, around Lions running back D’Andre Swift, it’s easy to forget about backfield mate Jamaal Williams. But when both were available last season they split snaps pretty closely, even it seemed obvious Swift deserved a more pronounced lead role.
In fantasy terms for 2022, in the right light, it’s easy to see value in Williams. Swift has struggled to stay on the field in his first two seasons, and in a broad sense Williams’ role will not be going away.
As a handcuff Williams has value, and in best-ball formats he could pay off nicely in any weeks Swift may miss.
While it’s hard to get to James Conner, 2021 Part 2 upside for Williams this year, like Pro Football Focus’ Dwain McFarland did, Detroit’s No. 2 running back has gotten some more traction as an appealing value as fantasy drafts get rolling.
Fantasy Football 2022: Jamaal Williams a prime ROI asset?
In a breakdown of the backfields in the NFC North, Antonio Losada of Roto Baller named Williams as an “alternative value play” over the other No. 2 backs in the division.
"Alternative value-play – Jamaal Williams (DET)Forget about Dillon and Mattison, the backup rusher to chase in the NFC North is Detroit’s, Jamaal Williams. No other rusher projected to get the second-most carries for his team is getting drafted lower than Williams (ADP of 163rd-overall, RB52) while projected to more PPR next year.PFF has Williams finishing next year as a borderline RB3 with 124.8 FP over the season. Melvin Gordon is the only player boasting a better ROI as things stand now, though his price (109th ADP) makes MG3 nearly five rounds more expensive than Williams."
Scoring format is important for context in an ADP comparison between Williams and Melvin Gordon. But Fantasy Football Calculator’s current ADP data in standard scoring (12 teams, and as of July 23) does show close to a five-round gap. You’d have to draft Gordon as your RB3, while Williams is gettable as a RB5.
Gordon-RB31, pick 7.01
Williams’ draftability is limited to leagues with 12 or more teams, and his functional rosterability as the season goes on is of course tied to Swift’s health and performance.
But there is nice draft value to be had, based on even a low-end workload projection for Williams, and it’s all upside at that ADP.