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Second-Year Scouting Report: Jameson Williams

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Every year, rookie fever emerges and the previous class gets pushed aside by the shiny new NFL toys. This usually results in a rookie ADP surge, which opens up pockets of value with players from the previous class who aren’t as established as long-time veterans in the league. This happens even though most fantasy analysts (and players) understand the largest leap occurs from Year 1 to Year 2.

 

Throughout the summer, FTN will be releasing second-year scouting reports to keep these players fresh in fantasy managers’ minds. The series shifts today to Jameson Williams, the second-year wide receiver with the Detroit Lions. This article is a breakdown of Williams’ first season and what fantasy managers can expect from him going forward in 2023 and beyond.

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

It took a transfer from Ohio State to Alabama for Jameson Williams to explode onto the college scene, but he did in a big way and was selected 12th overall by the Detroit Lions. Williams led the SEC with 1,572 receiving yards, 19.9 yards per catch and 15 receiving touchdowns in his last year at Bama. He also added over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns (led SEC) as a kick returner for the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, he sustained an ACL tear in the National Championship Game, which cost him a significant amount of his NFL rookie year.

Williams’ immense upside and his first-round draft capital have kept his dynasty ADP within the top 10 no matter the format – most anticipated his rookie year being a redshirt year. On the flip side, Williams was a non-factor in redraft outside of a few people who took a chance later in drafts. 

What Went Wrong 

Williams is a tough eval since he only appeared in six games and didn’t look fully healthy once he was out there. He only managed nine targets in these games on 27 routes run. As a field stretcher, these targets weren’t as valuable either since only 55% were catchable via FTN’s Stats Hub. If that wasn’t bad enough, he only caught one of them for 41 yards and a score. He was also credited with two drops, according to our charters. This is less than ideal on only nine targets. 

 

What Went Right 

In limited action and only one reception, it’s hard to find what went right, but hey that one catch was a touchdown! Williams will be a deep threat for this offense with an impressive 135 air yards on only nine targets. This was 12% of the team’s air yard share when he was active. He was targeted 29% of the time that he ran a route,  which was second on the team behind only Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift, who were both at 30%. 

Prognosis for 2023

2023 was looking great for Jameson Williams since the Lions didn’t add any competition to the WR room. This left Williams the favorite to step up as a secondary target in an ascending offense. However, Williams received a six-game suspension this offseason due to gambling. Being unavailable for a third of the season makes him a hard player to draft this season considering we haven’t seen him produce at the NFL level. I expect a nice bounceback from the ACL injury, and upon his return he will likely slot in as WR2 on the depth chart. With his big-play ability, there’s a chance he could become a league winner if you can manage to survive in your league until he returns.

Dynasty Prognosis

Unlike redraft, the suspension doesn’t affect Williams’ outlook here. But he is still very unproven at the NFL level. There’s high hopes that Williams will emerge as the game-breaker we expected (think Jaylen Waddle). It was only 27 routes, but he showed that ability on his one catch. Another year removed from the ACL injury will allow us to see him fully healthy upon his return. I expect a huge bounceback and shift in his value a year from now, so buy now if you can for a discount. 

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