Prior to Week 10 of this year, running back Jonathan Williams had not touched a football in an NFL game since September 23rd of the 2018 season.
However, after Indianapolis Colts backup running back Jordan Wilkins suffered an injury in Week 9, only to be followed up by workhorse Marlon Mack going down with an injury of his own in Week 11, Williams was called up from the Colts practice squad to help fill the voids.
And fill the void he has, eclipsing 100-yards rushing in back-to-back weeks.
With Mack set to miss yet another game for Indianapolis, has Williams established himself as a fantasy football must-start for Week 13 vs. the division rival Tennessee Titans? Let’s discuss.
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Jonathan Williams’ Fantasy Outlook vs. Tennessee Titans
Since Jonathan Williams has popped onto the fantasy football radar back in Week 11, only four running backs have averaged more than his 18.4 points per game. Not bad for a guy who’s only played in about a game and a half over that span.
Williams has essentially become a bell-cow back for Indianapolis’ run-first offense. In Week 11, when subbing in for an injured Marlon Mack, the former Arkansas Razorback played 31 offensive snaps. Of those 31 snaps, Williams touched the ball 14 times.
Williams’ usage would only grow from there, upon drawing his first career NFL start a week ago. Williams played on 67% of the team’s offensive plays, out snapping the next closest Colts running back by 23 plays. With his added field time, Williams would garner more opportunities to showcase the abilities that at one time made him a prominent NFL prospect.
The running back would go on to touch the ball a team-high 29 times vs. the Houston Texans, totaling an impressive 121 yards from scrimmage.
However, you could make an argument that the most important aspect of last week’s outing for Williams is the fact that Jordan Wilkins, the team’s original backup to Marlon Mack, played a meager single offensive snap on the night. This essentially cements the fact that Williams will serve as a near-workhorse back in the Colts offense until Mack returns from injury. In an offense that has averaged just 182 passing yards over the last five games, that likely means a plethora of usage.
Williams’ opponents on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans, had been one of the more stout units against running backs this season. However, that has not been the case over recent weeks.
Tennessee has allowed a 97+ yard rusher in two of their last three games and an eye-popping average of 146.66 yards from scrimmage to starting running backs since Week 8. Those running backs combined for an average of 29.5 fantasy points over that time.
If you put that type of production up against any specific running back over that same span, you would have yourself the second-highest scoring player at the position.
Should You Start or Sit Jonathan Williams in Week 13?
You simply can’t bet against Jonathan Williams at the moment. At worst he’s an RB3/Flex start vs. the Titans. However, with TY Hilton out with an injury once again, the Colts passing game woes will likely continue into Week 13. That means Indianapolis should continue to lean extremely heavily on Williams. His projected workload has his fantasy value trending upwards towards a mid-range RB2 when all is said and done on Sunday.
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