That Jamaal Williams has taken 26 carries and made seven catches as the No. 2 rusher to Aaron Jones says plenty about what the versatile backup running back can do in the Green Bay Packers backfield with the right opportunity.
He outsnapped Jones in the Packers’ 27-16 victory over the Denver Broncos in Week 3, taking 12 carries for 59 yards, despite Jones punching in both of the team’s rushing scores on the afternoon and seems to be a generally likable guy who makes you want to root for him. (I mean, the guy compared himself to mermaids and SpongeBob in the postgame.)
But even with head coach Matt LaFleur intending to split carries more evenly between his top two rushers, Williams isn’t really in a position to climbs the charts as a week-to-week fantasy football option for as long as he’s sharing time.
There was budding upside with both Williams and Jones appearing as limited participants on Monday’s injury report, though the Packers didn’t hold practice as a rest day with a short week ahead of them. If Jones were going to suddenly miss time, Williams’ stock would go soaring, but both were full participants Tuesday.
The only trouble is figuring out how it all adds up in fantasy football numbers for Williams, who is toeing the line between sleeper candidate and waiver-wire floater.
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Jamaal Williams Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Eagles
As if a minor injury and competition for snaps weren’t enough, Williams faces a taller task this week in breaking through the Eagles’ stout defensive front that has restrained opposing rushers to an average of 57 yards through three weeks.
Williams’ greatest strength in the matchup will be getting opportune looks in the passing game to keep the Eagles secondary off guard. He has caught seven of his eights targets thus far for 55 yards along with his only touchdown, but banking on him to haul in a touchdown is a long shot with the Packers having only passed for four touchdowns all season.
There is also still the trouble of the larger numbers for Williams that reminds owners it is important not to have blinders because of one active performance from him. Jones is still averaging more yards per carry (3.8) on 20 mores carries than Williams with triple the trips to the end zone.
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Should You Start or Sit Jamaal Williams in Week 3
Some would argue Williams deserves a bench spot no matter what happens with his production over the next few weeks as a handcuff option to Aaron Jones, who has a history of injuries that could always come back to bite the Packers yet again in 2019. For the time being, though, it is difficult to trust Williams’ average of 9.1 points per game, according to FantasyPros.
Williams is also logging better numbers at 6.7 points per week in PPR leagues than some hotter names around the league, including Cincinnati starter Joe Mixon and both Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard in Philly. And yet, according to FantasyPros consensus projections, Williams is ranked 45th coming into a difficult matchup against the Eagles.
Final verdict: Keep Williams as a handcuff if you have the roster space, but it will take a few more games with equal carry numbers — and the corresponding production — for him to be worthy of a starting spot at either RB2 or FLEX. Leave him on the bench in Week 4 against the Eagles and in the future until he starts making you regret it.