Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams suffered a toe injury that’s limited him for weeks. He tried to play through it against the Pittsburgh Steelers before being inactive against the Buffalo Bills last week. Will Williams return and play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, and what can fantasy football managers expect from him and the Kansas City running backs?
Update 01/30/22: After a week full of question marks, Darrel Williams was officially made active for the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Bengals.
Darrel Williams’ 2021 production
Williams continues to produce for Kansas City regardless of his status as a starter or backup. He’s posted 562 yards and 6 touchdowns on 145 carries through 18 games. He’s added 47 receptions for 452 yards and 2 touchdowns on 57 targets, as well.
He had his best game as a runner in Week 17 against Cincinnati, posting 88 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries. Surprisingly, he failed to top 100 rushing yards in any game this season.
Nevertheless, Williams caught all 9 of his targets for 101 yards and 1 touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 10. He’s an extremely versatile player that can contribute in multiple ways depending on how the Chiefs need to use him that week.
How would Williams’ absence affect the Chiefs’ offense?
If Williams is forced to miss this game, the Chiefs offense would stay the same as it has in the playoffs. He’s played limited snaps in Kansas City’s first two playoff games with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon taking on larger roles.
McKinnon has been the more involved player of the two, out-touching Edwards-Helaire 33 to 18 in Kansas City’s two postseason games. Both players are versatile, but it has been McKinnon who has broken out a bit more with Williams on the shelf. That would likely be the case once again, but both running backs have TD potential in this matchup.
Will Williams play vs. the Bengals this week?
Williams injured his toe a few weeks ago, and he’s been limited ever since. He tried to play against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round, but he only saw a few snaps. In that game, he recorded 1 carry for 4 yards without seeing any targets.
Williams was then inactive against Buffalo, leaving Edwards-Helaire and McKinnon to take over the RB production.
Williams is now in an interesting spot for this weekend. He practiced in full on Wednesday, leading many to believe he’d be ready for the AFC Championship Game. He was then limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is now listed as questionable to play this weekend.
It’s a tough situation to judge, but it’s never a good thing when players are downgraded throughout the week. Ultimately, I’d expect Williams to be inactive once again. If he does suit up, he’ll likely have a limited role.
Are fantasy points available vs. Cincinnati?
There are fantasy points available for running backs against Cincinnati. The Bengals are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points (17.8) per game to the position this season.
Although Williams doesn’t come with much value, McKinnon and Edwards-Helaire make interesting options. It’s important to note that both could lose some value if Williams is active. Even so, I wouldn’t expect him to play more than a few snaps this weekend.
McKinnon is the top option in this backfield with Edwards-Helaire ranking behind him. Williams shouldn’t truly be considered as a fantasy asset in this game, as he’s unlikely to play a major role.