Damien Williams Fantasy: Start or Sit Chiefs RB on Thursday Night Football?

Getty Damien Williams of the Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams suffered an injury back in Week 2 that held him out of gameplay for the following two weeks. Without him in the lineup Kansas City would go on their dandy way, plugging in veteran LeSean McCoy and the unheralded second-year undrafted Darrel Williams, while not missing a beat.

However, when Damien Williams returned to the team’s lineup in Week 5 his presence threw a wrench in the team’s backfield chemistry that they had built up in the two weeks prior.

Williams is now coming off the worst game of his 2019 season. Will the starting running back bounce back on Thursday night, or is this the beginning of the end of his run as a viable fantasy option? Let’s discuss.

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Damien Williams Fantasy Outlook vs. Denver Broncos

Damien Williams has been pegged as the lead back in Kansas City dating back to the departure of Kareem Hunt midway through the 2018 season. While this past offseason was ridden with rumors of rookie Darwin Thompson eating into Williams’ 2019 workload, that couldn’t have been any further from the truth. Thompson has totaled just five touches over the first six weeks of the season.

While Thompson remains a non-factor within the Chiefs offense, fellow running backs LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams have been the engine that has guided the team’s run game. During the two weeks that Damien Williams missed with an injury, the two running backs combined for an average of 127.5 rushing yards, and totaled four touchdowns. However, since Damien Williams has returned to the playing field, Chiefs running backs have combined for an average of just 37.5 yards per game and have failed to find the endzone.

Kansas City took note of the run game struggles with Williams in the backfield and in return limited his touches in Week 6. The former Oklahoma Sooner touched the ball just twice (one rushing attempt and one reception) vs. the Houston Texans. Those numbers are the lowest Williams has seen since Week 9 of last season, a time when Kareem Hunt was still spearheading the team’s rushing attack.

LeSean McCoy out-touched Williams by eight total touches a week ago. Williams was also outsnapped by McCoy on 12% of the team’s offensive plays. In fact, Williams’ 38% snap count rate vs. the Texans was a near 20% drop off from his snap count average leading into Week 6.

To make matters worse for Williams and his fantasy owners, the team travels to Denver on Thursday to face off against the division rival Broncos. While they did have their struggles defending the running back position early on in the season, they’ve made a complete 180 over their last two games. Denver held the likes of Melvin Gordon and Derrick Henry to a combined average of just 3.6 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks. They’ve also not allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 3.

Should You Start or Sit Damien Williams in Week 7?

Unfortunately, for Williams’ fantasy owners, the running back may just be what we pegged him as prior to his breakout season a year ago. He’s a solid complementary back who poses more value to his NFL team than he does to your fantasy team.

Kansas City has dropped two games in a row for just the second time in the Patrick Mahomes era, and are determined to get things right. That likely means featuring their best running backs in the backfield. Which by all accounts in 2019, doesn’t mean Williams.

Sit the Kansas City running back on Thursday night, as his boom rate is well below his bust rate.

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