We probably say this every year, but it feels as though the barrage of injuries that inevitably hits has occurred far sooner than normal. It’s only Week 3, and we have a bunch of every-week fantasy starters either out or at risk of not playing.
New Orleans Saints RB Jamaal Williams had been operating as the lead back while Alvin Kamara serves his three-game suspension. Unfortunately, he was knocked out of Monday night’s game prematurely with a strained hamstring. Should fantasy football managers plan to be without Williams on Sunday?
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Latest News Surrounding Jamaal Williams
Williams completely dominated the Saints’ backfield in Week 1, playing 75% of the snaps. With Kendre Miller nursing a hamstring strain and Kamara suspended, the Saints almost exclusively used Williams at running back.
When Williams came out of the game, it wasn’t really even Tony Jones that spelled him but rather Taysom Hill. This was going to be the Williams show for the first three weeks.
Unfortunately, Williams exited Monday Night Football shortly before halftime with a hamstring strain. The initial diagnosis wasn’t too bad. He tested it out, which is usually a good sign that he could even do that, but was unable to continue.
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However, after the game, head coach Dennis Allen said Williams would need “some time” to recover.
Saints’ RB Jamaal Williams is expected to need “some time” to recover from his hamstring injury, per HC Dennis Allen.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 19, 2023
That is not what fantasy managers want to see.
Sure enough, Williams did not practice on Wednesday. At the time of this writing, the Saints have not yet had their Thursday practice, but I am certain Williams will once again be absent.
Update: Per Mike Triplett, Williams was indeed absent from practice.
What Does This Mean for Williams’ Fantasy Ranking?
It’s pretty clear from the head coach’s comments and the practice reports from beat reporters that Williams is not going to play this week. The good news for the Saints is Miller practiced in full. It appears as though Williams gave Miller his healthy hamstring.
The Saints will deploy a two-man backfield this week featuring Jones and Miller. You can see where we have both Saints backs in our PFN Consensus Rankings.
Miller will be making his NFL debut this week. Although he’s yet to play in a regular-season contest, he is the vastly more talented player than Jones.
While Miller may be better, Jones is the veteran. The coaching staff likes him. I fully expect Jones to start. However, if he plays up to his ability, Miller should earn more work as the game goes on.
Given that Kamara is due back next week, the Saints only need to survive one more game without him. My guess is they do that by mixing in a lot more Hill.
It would not surprise me at all to see Hill with over a 50% snap share. He was at 40% last week. Jones simply isn’t talented enough, and the Saints undoubtedly trust Hill more than the rookie for now.
Fantasy managers looking to replace Williams in lineups would probably be better off with Hill, assuming you can use a Flex player. However, the real answer is likely someone else on your bench.
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