Week 10 could finally be the week that fantasy football managers see Kyren Williams on the field for the Los Angeles Rams. With the Rams’ backfield having been disappointing so far, could Williams provide a boost down the stretch of the fantasy season?
Let’s take a look at what we might expect to see from Williams, the situation in the Rams’ backfield, and whether he could have fantasy value in Week 10 and beyond for season-long or Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues.
Update: Kyren Williams has been activated from the IR. Meanwhile, Malcolm Brown has been waived by the Rams.
Is Kyren Williams a Fantasy Asset That Managers Should Invest in This Week?
We have not seen Williams on the field since Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. He played one snap on special teams in that game before being placed on IR with an ankle injury. Williams was designated to return from the IR ahead of Week 8, but the Rams have held off activating him through the past two weeks. They now have until next Wednesday to activate Williams or leave him on the IR all year.
In his media availability on Wednesday, head coach Sean McVay told reporters that he “thinks there is a good chance he (Williams) will be up this week.” While McVay pointed towards the steady progress that Williams is making, he then caveated the statement on Williams by saying, “whether it is either this week or next,” and discussing how the 21-day clock was running low. McVay finished by saying that if he continues trending and making the progress he has so far, then Williams “will be playing on Sunday.”
The problem is that even if Williams is activated, he comes into a crowded backfield. The Rams have had Darrell Henderson Jr., Cam Akers, Malcolm Brown, and fellow rookie Ronnie Rivers involved in the offense in recent weeks. In Week 9, Henderson had 12 carries, Brown with two, and Akers with five. Rivers remains on the practice squad and was not elevated for Week 9.
One element that increases the chance we see Williams this week is that Brown was listed on the injury report as a non-participant with a hamstring injury. While that was only an estimated report due to the Rams just having a walk-through this week, we’ve seen hamstring injuries be tricky. Additionally, if the Rams were to elevate Rivers again, they would have to sign him to the 53-man roster or release him to waivers after the game.
Therefore, if Brown cannot go but is also not deemed serious enough to need to be placed on IR, then the Rams would be in a tricky situation. If LA doesn’t elevate Williams, they would likely have to turn to Rivers. In that case, they would either need to sign Rivers and Williams to the 53-man roster next week, waive Rivers, or leave Williams on IR for the remainder of the season.
All of that points towards Williams having a decent chance to be activated and suit up this week. The problem is that any role he might take from Brown would be limited in playing time. Brown has just 14 rushing attempts and two targets combined in the last three games, with his opportunities having declined each week.
What Does Week 10 and Beyond Hold for Williams’ Fantasy Value?
Unless we see injuries to one or both of Akers and Henderson, it’s a tricky path for Williams to get to a position where he has solid fantasy value. The easiest path would be if either Akers or Henderson — or both — get hurt this week. That would then make Williams a top priority on the waiver wire in Week 11.
When it comes to performance, neither Henderson nor Akers has been spectacular this year. Henderson is averaging 4.1 yards per rush attempt, which is down on the past two years. He’s been solid in the receiving game, with 16 receptions from 21 targets, but again, not spectacular. Akers’ performance, meanwhile, has been downright miserable, with 2.8 rushing yards per attempt on 56 carries.
Therefore, if that continues, there is certainly a path to Williams having value. However, that value seems to have a pretty low ceiling based on how the Rams have used their backs this year.
Henderson has not had more than 13 rushing attempts in a game and has only crossed 15 opportunities once — both in Week 1. Akers had three games with double-digit rushing attempts in four weeks but was then mysteriously benched.
It seems unlikely that LA will suddenly make Williams a featured back. Even if Akers and Henderson were hurt, then they would likely mix either Brown or Rivers in alongside Williams. So while Williams could be an intriguing stash in deeper leagues or those with deep benches, there does appear to be a fairly low ceiling here.
Williams’ best realistic value right now comes as a late-round Best Ball draft pick on Underdog Fantasy. In either weekly or rest-of-season contests, he could find his way into the end zone or come into a bigger role in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, in leagues where fantasy managers have to set a weekly lineup, he will be close to impossible to start until we get some clarity. That likely won’t be the case until Week 11 at the earliest and may not even be until Week 12 or later, limiting the investment fantasy managers should make.
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