Jamaal Williams Fantasy Projections: Should You Draft Williams in Fantasy This Year?

    Jamaal Williams was a scoring machine last season, but what are his fantasy projections in 2023, and should you draft him at his ADP?

    As the NFL season approaches, fantasy football is upon us. We at PFN have been researching more than 350 players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here are New Orleans Saints RB Jamaal Williams’ fantasy projections for 2023, as well as insights into whether he should be drafted at or before his ADP.

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    Jamaal Williams’ 2023 Fantasy Projection

    Only 34 times in NFL history has a player rushed for 17+ regular-season touchdowns. Only once has one of these players finished with less than 1,100 rushing yards: Jamaal Williams.

    What Williams did last season was nothing short of miraculous. After compiling only one rushing score per 50.2 attempts (13 total scores) in his first five NFL campaigns, he averaged one per 15.4 attempts last year.

    Thirteen of his 17 TDs last season came from the 1- or 2-yard line. Moreover, since the start of the 2021 season, 13 of his last 20 rushing TDs have come from the 1-yard line.

    This is what it means to be a high-volume specialist. Despite averaging a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry for his career, Williams was utilized like never before in 2022, including consistently near the goal line. As a result, he was the overall fantasy RB13, with 49% of his production coming on those 17 scoring plays.

    His huge effort netted him a multi-year contract with the Saints that includes $8 million guaranteed. One could make a strong case that if his 2022 campaign had been similar to those of previous years, he might not have secured more than a one-year, $2 million contract.

    On-field expectations are, therefore, fairly high. It will be nearly impossible for him to hit them. Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill will get their share of goal-line work as soon as Kamara’s back from his suspension. Third-round rookie Kendre Miller has the size and skill set to earn some looks near the end zone, too, when he’s fully healthy.

    Williams probably will never be a “great” rusher in terms of efficiency, and his dramatic decline in the passing game last year is concerning. And coming off a career-high 274-touch campaign — 95 more than his previous high — we might wonder if, at 28 years old, he’s headed toward a regression that goes beyond mere usage.

    Essentially, Williams has more going against him than for him heading into 2023.

    Should You Draft Jamaal Williams This Year?

    Underdog Fantasy currently lists Williams with an ADP of RB42. On the one hand, it’s a relatively conservative projection for a guy who was just a must-start running back. And he just got paid, so presumably, he’ll see plenty of action.

    However, what he does with that action likely won’t come close to mirroring last year’s surprising breakout. He’ll need a heavy dose of TDs and receptions to finish in the top 32 — a level he’d never reached until last season.

    Williams simply doesn’t possess the assured ceiling to be a big bargain at his current price. Could he step up sporadically? Absolutely. And that might be enough to keep him in the top 40. But one good game followed by two forgettable outings won’t make most fantasy managers happy.

    Assuming Williams peaked in 2022, it was one heck of a peak. Now it’s time to recalibrate expectations — to view Williams as his pre-2022 self, except older and seemingly not any faster. He’s only a lukewarm buy at his current market value.

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