Fantasy Football 2023: Jameson Williams carries minimal draft risk, but even less in-season reward

With a six-game suspension to set back his second NFL season, Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams is risk-reward fantasy option with litle risk not much reward to be had.
Detroit Lions wide receiver  walks off the field after practice during minicamp at
Detroit Lions wide receiver walks off the field after practice during minicamp at / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Leaving aside any other narrative surrounding his six-game gambling suspension to start the season, it's undeniably a setback for Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams for his second NFL season. There will be pressure on him when he takes the field, but expectations should be kept realistic.

Williams will have plenty of practice time in training camp this year, at a time of the year he did not have it as a rookie due to his ACL rehab. He'll be able to practice in the weeks before he comes off suspension, which will help him hit the ground running when he's able to take the field. It's easy to assume his role will be substantial right away, as long as he's deemed up to the task.

But in a fantasy football light, six games is close to half of the regular season. Then the Lions have a bye in Week 9. So how many weeks will Williams be useful to fantasy managers who draft him?

Fantasy Football 2023: Jameson Williams is a "risk-reward" option with seemingly little of both

Jeremy Popielarz of FTN Fantasy, with acknowledgement of the small sample, dropped the following nugget about Williams from last season. Popielarz further noted how just 55 percent of Williams' targets were deemed catchable by FTN data, with two credited drops on his nine targets.

On the flip side, with an ADP in that format of 100 overall at the time of the writing, Jason Katz of Pro Football Network had Williams among his best ball busts.

"There’s certainly a much better argument for taking a shot on Jameson Williams in Best Ball than in seasonal. I just don’t want him in either.

As a rookie, Williams caught one pass for 41 yards. Yes, he started the season on PUP, recovering from a torn ACL, but he still played in six games and was unable to command targets.

This is less about Williams missing six games and more about the fact that his rookie season doesn’t bode well for his future success. If he’s an outlier, fine by me. I’ll gladly miss out.

However, I’m way below ADP on Williams — a whopping 60 spots. I’m very worried Williams will be a major bust this season."

Jason Katz, Pro Football Network

Via Fantasy Pros, as of Wednesday afternoon (July 19) here's a look at Williams' ADPs (non-best ball).
Standard scoring: WR46 (113 overall)
0.5-point PPR (Yahoo!): WR48 (116 overall)
Full PPR (ESPN): WR50 (104 overall)

Williams, for those who can hang onto him through his suspension, will be a nice late-round dart throw in fantasy drafts. But the above ADP numbers have him in the 9th/10th round range as a low-end WR4 (standard and 0.5-point PPR) or a high-end WR5 (full PPR). How many wide receivers you have to, or can, start each week will play a role in his draftability.

Getting right down to it, with the Week 9 bye, Williams will be eligible to play in seven games of the fantasy regular season--assuming a 14-week schedule. He could definitely be a difference maker in the playoffs. But how many of those regular season weeks, especially important ones right before the playoffs, will he be startable with any confidence? Take the proverbial under on any number above about three, and that might be kind.

There's truly not a lot of risk in drafting Williams at his current traditional league ADP, as long as a solid wide receiver corps is built around him otherwise. It's more about navigating keeping him on a roster until he can play, with an eye on a payoff that'll make the wait and roster navigating worth it.

On the reward side, Williams will be a boom-or-bust fantasy option any week he plays this season. Big plays and big yards will be just as likely as a catchless game. Is that reward worth drafting and stashing him for six weeks? I'd rather hope to add him off the waiver wire and stash him when he's close to playing, but I won't be too disappointed if that can't happen.

3 trades to make the Detroit Lions championship contenders this year. 3 trades to make the Detroit Lions championship contenders in 2023. dark. Next