As dynasty managers look towards the next step in the offseason process, Alabama WR Jameson Williams is widely regarded as one of the top-ranked fantasy football wide receivers in 2022. Following a successful collegiate career, what are Williams’ strengths, are there any concerns, and how does his landing spot impact his dynasty fantasy football value in 2022 and beyond?
Jameson Williams’ dynasty fantasy profile
Williams was the No. 1 wide receiver in college football last season without question. While the 2022 draft class is loaded at receiver, the argument can be made Williams sits on top.
Following a transfer from Ohio State after two years of sitting on the back burner, Williams ascended to a different level while continuing on the string of incredible Alabama receivers like Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.
In 15 games, Williams recorded 70 receptions, 1,572 yards, and 15 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. Accounting for 20.8% of the receptions and 2.75 yards per team passing attempt, Williams was statistically one of the most dominant players in the nation.
As a vertical specialist, Williams was a game-breaking play waiting to happen, which is evident in his 19.9 yards per reception. While I’m not quite as convinced now, I still believe Williams could very well be the first receiver taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Williams is a Tier 1 receiver
However, I am sure that Williams needs to be one of the first receivers off the board in dynasty rookie drafts. Personally, I draft based on tiers — if the projections are similar, taking the better value tends to be a better play, especially if I can move down and acquire more draft capital.
Williams is a Tier 1 prospect at receiver. His body of work, despite being just one season, showed us what he could do at the NFL level. Williams’ floor for fantasy purposes might not be as high as some in this class, but his ceiling might very well be the highest of them all.
Game-breaking, Earth-shattering, Marvel movie-level speed. Williams has silly speed. We didn’t get to see it at the NFL Combine or the Crimson Tide Pro Day, but Williams might be the fastest guy to come out of Alabama in recent years. He’s the definition of lightning in a bottle.
Williams is more than the top-end speed with his long strides. He is ridiculously explosive out of his stance, taking off like a 100-meter gold medalist at the Olympics. Both of these factors meant teams were forced to give him as much cushion as possible, sometimes 8+ yards.
No one in the NFL will dare to play him tight, especially when he’s lined in the slot. This means Williams almost always gets a clean release. If someone was pressed up, Williams used his hands effectively to swipe them off.
As a quick-twitch runner, Williams made his money after the catch. The same will apply in the NFL and fantasy football in 2022. Offensive coordinators will find ways to scheme him open. From there, well, it’s nothing but taillights.
Route running and pass catching aren’t issues
While he’s not the same caliber of a route runner as Chris Olave, Williams does have a decent route tree and has the ability to snap off at the stem. Williams uses his speed to his advantage, selling going vertical before breaking it off, creating instant separation in a critical area.
Also, Williams showed reliable hands. I’m not calling him DeVonta Smith or Treylon Burks, but Williams has no issues plucking the ball out of midair. He knows how to adjust in the air and comes down with the ball. There were a few drops in 2021, but I would chalk those up to concentration rather than ability.
While I do believe Williams has a route tree that shows he’s more than just a vertical threat, he needs some polish. He sometimes rounds his breaks when it’s clear on film that he can snap them off if he wants. Also, at the stem, Williams could utilize head fakes more to help sell the inside or outside move to a backpedaling defender.
Physicality is a bit of a concern as well. If a defender gets their hands on him, Williams sometimes struggles to get them off. He’s a wiry 188 pounds at 6’2″. He’s not going to win the bully-ball game or help out in run blocking. Now, this is not to say he plays timid by any means — it’s just worth noting. Nevertheless, Williams will never be an enforcer either on the line or at the catch point.
Williams’ injury history
This is where the conversation takes place. Going into Williams’ final game in college, he had a clean bill of health. With Alabama already down John Metchie III heading into the national championship against Georgia, Williams could have cemented his spot as the WR1 of the class.
Unfortunately, after recording his fourth catch and trying to make a move in the open field, Williams tore the ACL in his left knee. It goes without saying this raises a red flag on Williams. Players who have their draft stock built on speed carry a perceived higher soft-tissue injury risk. While I don’t know if I fully buy into that personally, this injury puts Williams behind the eight-ball.
What I’ll say is this: In my opinion, knowing that dynasty is a multi-year endeavor, I’m not going to pass on the upside and talent of Williams just because he might redshirt his 2022 season. NFL teams make long-term commitments to these players, and Williams will still carry Round 1 draft capital.
If you would rather try to trade for him midseason if he isn’t projected to be ready by Week 1, by all means, give it a shot. However, I’ll caution you now that Williams’ price will not be lower than on draft day. If you want him on your dynasty team for 2022 and beyond, I would advise selecting Williams when you have a shot.
Jameson Williams signed by the Detroit Lions
The draft up to this point has been bonkers. Add this one to the list as the Detroit Lions trade up from pick No. 32 with the Minnesota Vikings to select Williams. Oh baby, this is spicy.
Speed is the name of Williams’ game. This is nothing new. What is intriguing is that the Lions paired the deemed vertical threat with Jared Goff, the QB with the shortest average intended air yards per attempt of any QB last season (6.6).
I think we could see the Lions use Williams once he is good to go, both vertically and underneath, similar to a role Jaylen Waddle saw last season. However, they have a guy who can win routinely underneath and over the middle with Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson.
This is a move for the future. A move to get a wide receiver room ready for whatever quarterback will be leading the team next year. Williams’ first year was a virtual scratch anyway, given his ACL recovery. Any production he gives as a rookie is a bonus. Select Williams with the future in mind. The Lions could very well be one of those teams selecting or in the range for C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young. You will want Williams before that happens, as once they land in Detroit, you likely would have to sell the farm to even get in striking distance for a trade.