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Will This First-Round Pick Be 2023’s Fantasy Football League Winner?

Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams will be back on the field in Week 5, but will he be able to dominate in fantasy football?
Jameson Williams Fantasy Football

Anyone who drafted Jameson Williams in fantasy football did so knowing that they’d need to be patient. The 2022 first-round pick entered the NFL Draft after tearing his ACL and wasn’t expected to play much as a rookie. Over the offseason, Williams received what was supposed to be a six-game suspension for gambling at the Lions facility. However, the NFL recently updated their gambling policy, prematurely ending Williams’ suspension and allowing him to return to the field in Week 5.

Had he been healthy during the NFL Draft, there is a real chance that Williams would have been the first receiver selected in a draft class that included Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Drake London. Now that he’s back on the field, what can fantasy football owners realistically expect from Jameson Williams for the rest of the season?

Read More: Week 4 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em | Wide Receiver Rankings

Fantasy Football: What to Expect From Jameson Williams

Jameson Williams The Player

First and foremost, we need to talk about Jameson Williams as an actual football player. Needless to say, the key to sustained success at fantasy football is being good at real football, so we first need to determine if Williams can actually play the game. The receiver appeared in six games last year and caught just one of the nine targets that came his way. This obviously isn’t ideal, but we can give him a pass for this poor efficiency. As mentioned earlier, Williams suffered a serious knee injury towards the end of the college football season, and the fact he was on the field in the first place was pretty encouraging.

Additionally, while it only came in small doses, we did catch a glimpse of Williams’ game-breaking speed and acceleration. His lone catch was a 41-yard touchdown, and he also made a nice catch in Detroit’s season-ending loss that was negated by penalty. Obviously, these two plays don’t necessarily mean anything on their own, but it’s good to see that the knee injury didn’t take away his elite speed.

With such a small sample of professional play, we need to look at Jameson Williams as a prospect to see if he can be good for fantasy football. Draft capital is the most predictive metric out there, and it’s encouraging to see that he was 12th overall pick despite his injuries. This tells us that professional scouts believe he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and his analytical profile tells a similar story. Williams was an early declare, which historically is a good thing, and he dominated targets during his lone season with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Granted, he’s not a Ja’Marr Chase type of prospect, but this combination of draft capital, declare status, and actual production bodes well for his future.

So, Jameson Williams has the talent to be a valuable asset in fantasy football, but does he have the opportunity? Anyone who’s watched even one Atlanta Falcons game knows that situation can dramatically limit the ceiling of talented players, so will Detroit allow Williams to be the best player he can be?

The Detroit Lions Offense

Don’t look now, but the Detroit Lions are actually one of the better teams in the NFL. After their dominant Thursday Night Football win over the Green Bay Packers, the team sits atop the NFC North thanks in large part to their explosive offense. Ben Johnson’s scheme is working as well as ever, and Jared Goff has turned into a solid starter in the Motor City.

Being a part of a good offense is obviously important for fantasy football, but Jameson Williams managers should be thrilled to note that there is a clear spot in this passing attack for the former first-round pick. Right now, Detroit’s primary deep threat is Josh Reynolds, a journeyman wide receiver who has never been anything more than just ok. Despite his lack of on-field talent, Johnson and Goff have elevated him to a respectable 11.4 fantasy points per game. Reynolds has seen at least six targets in three of his four games, which shows that this success isn’t just the product of one outlier game.

Jameson Williams might need some time to officially beat out Reynolds, but once he does, he should be a decent fantasy football option with week-winning potential. If he’s currently on waivers, you should grab him right now, but don’t plug him into your lineup in Week 5. He’ll probably need some time to knock off the rust, and the Lions have their bye in Week 9. Chances are, he’ll take the starting job in Week 10 and never look back.

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Main Photo: Junfu Han – USA Today Sports


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