As we inch toward the new season, the ever-changing NFL landscape has player fantasy values constantly on the move. Whether you’re used to the dynasty platform or are still learning the dynasty rules, let’s dive into the latest dynasty value of Jamaal Williams.
Jamaal Williams’ Dynasty Outlook and Value
Among the 2023 free agent class, Williams is far from the most exciting name. But he’s a solid veteran running back who has value in the right role.
I feel like Williams was kind of written off after D’Andre Swift’s breakout 2021 season. It’s long past time to accept that Williams is just an outlier. He’s slow and unathletic, but he makes it work.
After five seasons of never finishing higher than RB34, Williams had a career year in 2022, finishing as the overall RB18. He had his first 1,000-yard season and averaged 13.3 fantasy points per game. Of course, we all know why. Touchdowns.
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Williams led the NFL in touchdowns last season with 17. It was a truly remarkable accomplishment, especially when you consider how inefficient he was. Williams averaged 4.1 yards per carry, but he wouldn’t know what a splash play was if he did a cannonball in a swimming pool.
Just 2.7% of Williams’ rushes went for 15+ yards, the 50th-best rate in the league. He didn’t make defenders miss with an evaded-tackles-per-touch rate outside the top 50, and he created just 1.41 yards per touch, also outside the top 50.
Suffice it to say Williams is never doing this again. The Lions wound up at the 1 or 2-yard line frequently, and Williams scored 13 of his 17 touchdowns from no more than two yards out.
Jamaal Williams’ Fantasy Ranking
Williams is the type of running back you never want to start, but you’re glad you have when you need to plug in someone at RB2.
Here is what I wrote about Williams prior to him signing with the New Orleans Saints:
“Williams is an extremely likable player and will get a job somewhere next season. That job will likely entail goal-line carries. Williams is the ultimate touchdown-or-bust RB. No running back had a higher percentage of his fantasy points come from touchdowns.
“The Lions love Williams, and he enjoys playing in Detroit. A return makes the most sense. But unless he goes to a team with a very bad offense, his fantasy value likely won’t change much.”
Williams’ role on the Saints should be exactly what it was on the Lions. This is a lateral move, but I mean that in the most positive way possible.
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On the Saints, with Derek Carr at quarterback, Williams is going to fill the classic Mark Ingram role. Combine that with the fact that I think Alvin Kamara is a declining talent — plus he’s likely facing a suspension — and Williams could be a sneaky useful player in the short term.
Williams is now 28 years old. His skill set is one that should age as well as can be expected for a running back, though. I can see him pulling a Latavius Murray and hanging around in this type of role into his early 30s.
I’m torn between calling Williams overvalued based on last year’s performance and undervalued based on my belief he has a lot more time left in his career than most 28-year-olds. While Williams is unlikely to be a difference-maker in fantasy, he can definitely be a productive fantasy asset.
I would consider him an RB3, which is slightly above our ranking as the RB39, No. 123 overall in Superflex. Williams will have value in 2023 and going forward, but it’s unlikely to ever match what it was in 2022. In dynasty startup drafts, I would only draft him if he were a value and I was trying to win now.