As fantasy football drafts reach fever pitch, how draftable is Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams?
After a fantastic final college season at Alabama, there’s no denying Jameson Williams’ potential. Hence, Lions general manager Brad Holmes traded up from No. 32 to No. 12 overall in April’s draft to get him without hesitation. For some analysts, Williams was the best wide receiver in the draft.
But Williams also suffered a torn ACL in his final game for the Crimson Tide. That he was still a top-12 pick and among the first few receivers selected says a lot. If the Lions hadn’t moved up and taken him where they did, he probably wouldn’t have waited much longer to hear his name called.
It has always been a foregone conclusion Williams would miss games to start his rookie season. The question is how many, with him staying on the NFI (non-football injury) list, we know it’s a least four games.
The Lions have their bye in Week 6, so Williams could get one game in before then (Week 5 against the New England Patriots). But it’s entirely possible, if not likely, the Lions will hold him out through the bye until Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Fantasy Football: Is Jameson Williams worth a ‘draft and stash’?
Let’s say Williams doesn’t play until Week 7, or optimistically Week 5. Not to say he can’t make an impact anyway, but it’s fair to assume his snap count will be managed in his first few games. So it’ll be hard to start in him in fantasy leagues as much more than a WR3 or a flex, and even then you’d be hoping for a big play or two to buoy any limitations in his playing time.
Williams could play as many as 13 games this season, and he probably won’t play say, three or four. Let’s put his debut at Week 7, which with fantasy playoffs largely starting in Week 15 would give him eight games during the fantasy regular season.
A general thought out there is Williams will be fully healthy and have a chance to be a big difference maker in the fantasy playoffs. In 12-team leagues with an IR spot he can be held in until he plays, he’s a fine late-round flier to stash. Otherwise, he could more easily be stashed in a regular bench spot in leagues with 14 or more teams.
Without an IR spot, at least in 10 or 12-team leagues, even with bye weeks not starting until Week 6, it’ll be hard to have what amounts to an unusable roster spot stashing Williams for at least four weeks. And he won’t be a starting option in at least his first game back.
Williams has been and is worth having on the radar late in fantasy drafts. But be aware if an IR spot is an option. Regardless, it may take a lot of luck elsewhere on a roster to be able to easily keep him until he looks like a viable lineup option.