With a six-game suspension now costing him a chunk of his second NFL season, Jameson Williams’ fantasy value is just about in the tank right now.
When the Detroit Lions moved up to take him in last year’s draft, they (and Lions fans) knew Jameson Williams‘ rookie season was going to be largely a redshirt year. But even within that expectation, one catch and one carry over limited snaps in six games seemed to fall short.
Now, Williams will be suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season after violating the NFL’s gambling policy. So he will now miss 17 of his first 23 NFL games, and at least 17 of his first 34 games overall if he plays every game after he returns from his suspension.
Williams has time to turn around his early career narrative, whatever it might be in a granular sense with his injury recovery followed by a suspension.
But as pointed out by Ian Hartitz of Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Life, at least based on production history, it’ll be an uphill climb.
Fantasy Football: Jameson Williams’ value nearly ready to go in the tank
With a bigger role in store for him in 2023, the breakout buzz around Williams was real. Even updated Monday, after the suspension news, he’s WR37 in Fantasy Pros consensus rankings in 0.5-point PPR and the 92nd-ranked player overall. Let’s call that an eighth-round pick in a 12-team league, albeit in late-April. The suspension-driven dip in his 2023 fantasy ranking and ADP is not over.
Williams has fast become only a best ball pick for non-dynasty fantasy managers in 2023, and perhaps a waiver wire pickup in standard-style re-draft leagues when he’s eligible to play. And then there’s the question of any ramp up he may have, and when he might have a role that could produce fantasy-worthy numbers.
In a vacuum, not much has changed compared to Williams’ rookie season in the fantasy realm. But it’s not “when will he play?”, it’s “when might he play enough to be usable in fantasy?” And it will be, at minimum due to the suspension, roughly half of the 2023 fantasy regular season before he plays–let alone produces anything of note.
In dynasty leagues, for those who have him, Williams remains a hold. But even that dynasty “hold” recommendation is flimsy now. For some he won’t be worth holding in that format, if say, a rookie wide receiver who has a chance to contribute right away can be had instead. Trading him in dynasty right now is selling low, but it is a step above just letting him go off a roster for nothing.
Williams is not yet a complete non-entity in fantasy football. But with two years that are lined up to fall short of any level of expectations, it’s teetering on that brink in a way that was not able to be foreseen less than a week ago.