Fantasy Football Week 2 waiver wire: Lions running back Jamaal Williams

Credit: Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports /

Jamaal Williams scored twice on Sunday against the Eagles, but is the Lions’ No. 2 running back a priority fantasy football waiver wire add heading toward Week 2?

For as great as D’Andre Swift was on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, with a career-high 144 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as well as 31 yards on three catches, his day could’ve been even better. Jamaal Williams got 11 carries of his own, for 28 yards and two touchdowns as he also added one reception for two yards.

The snap split for the Lions’ top two backs, over 69 offensive plays for the Lions, was 2-to-1 in favor of Swift (46 snaps). But Williams got more of the goal line work, four snaps to one for Swift according to Pro Football Focus, with both of his scores coming from one yard out.

Williams has inherent fantasy value as the handcuff to Swift, an injury away from a lead role he produced solidly in last season. But after vulturing a couple scores from Swiift in Week 1, is there immediate standalone value here?

Fantasy Football waiver wire: Jamaal Williams a priority add for Week 2?

Sunday’s workload split between Swift and Williams was a carryover from last year in games both played. There was case for Swift to see more work then, and that case was only re-bolstered by what he did against the Eagles.

But Williams is probably not going away. The extra fantasy value Swift has due to his passing game prowess is lessened by a decrease in pass targets to Lions’ running backs since head coach Dan Campbell took over the play-calling last season. Williams stands to be relevant in competitive games.

In an otherwise equal carry split, a generally good philosophy is to lean toward the back who’s getting the goal line work. That obviously isn’t quite the situation for the Lions, but Swift and Williams both had double-digit carries in Week 1.

Swift’s score also came from seven yards out, so it’s not as if he won’t get any work when the Lions get close to the stripe. Both of Williams’ touchdowns on Sunday came after Swift had long runs and got a break.

Swift’s fantasy managers who used a late pick on Williams as the handcuff should continue to carry Williams on their roster as long as it remains viable to do it (bye weeks and injuries will alter that equation).

Non-Swift owners who are looking for running back depth can absolutely see Williams as a viable waiver wire add this week, within the premise of “running backs with a role have some automatic value.” He is a possible flex option in larger leagues, however touchdown-dependent.

Williams is rostered in 35.3 percent of ESPN leagues and 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Monday morning. Those rates will certainly rise some when waivers clear this week, but it’s a big step to declare him a must-add. Tagging him for a watch list would be more worthwhile, and those that do have him on a roster should not drop him for anything other than a more viable Week 2 starter.

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