With a path to significant touches possible, Jamaal Williams is an ideal target for best ball fantasy football.
For the first time in seemingly forever, the Detroit Lions had a competent rushing attack in 2021. That included two 600-plus yards rushers–D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. When Swift missed four full games and most of the game he went down with a shoulder injury in, Williams and Craig Reynolds held down the fort.
The fantasy buzz around Swift for 2022 is easy, but given his struggles to stay on the field Williams should not be totally overlooked. In the essentially three games he had as the Lions’ lead back, with Swift exiting Thanksgiving Day early and him missing two games himself, Williams had at least 15 carries and 75 total yards in all three.
Zach Cohen of The Draft Network put together a list of the best values in fantasy football best ball drafts. “Best ball” is just what it sounds like, and it’s a familiar term for those who play golf. The highest-scoring players on your roster form your lineup each week, with no worries about having to actively set a lineup.
Williams made Cohen’s list of five fantasy best ball values.
Jamaal Williams is an ideal fantasy best ball running back
Here’s some of what Cohen wrote, on May 11.
Williams’ inclusion doesn’t derail my affinity for running back D’Andre Swift in fantasy. They can co-exist, especially in best ball. I also don’t love Williams nor do I think he’s primed for a breakout (those may come in another article). I just think he should be drafted higher, hence why he’s a “value.” His ADP falls behind other running backs like Isaiah Spiller, Gus Edwards, Raheem Mostert, Darrell Henderson and Marlon Mack, to name a few. While all five of those running backs will be involved in their offenses, I can see Williams seeing more work than those five.
It’s tough to picture Williams taking a full backseat to Swift. Williams had double-digit carries in more than half of last season’s games. In the three games he filled in for an injured Swift, Williams saw some of his most work yet, including a 63% snap share in Week 13… Williams isn’t going away, so as your fourth or fifth back, he can provide a steady floor — and occasionally high ceiling — at a low price.
In games where Swift also played last season, removing Week 12 Thanksgiving when Swift left very early, Williams had double-digit touches eight times out of the other 10.
By percentage of touches or opportunities (including pass targets that aren’t completed in the latter), Williams had at least a 64 percent share in two of the aforementioned three games he operated as Detroit’s No.1 back without Swift.
Williams won’t win a fantasy league, of any format, by himself. But he is a worthy RB4/RB5 to stash on the bench in a 12-team league, with the ability to keep things afloat in a flex or even a RB2 spot some weeks if needed. For best ball in particular, he’s on the list of ideal depth running backs.