Fantasy Reaction: Jamaal Williams Signs with the Detroit Lions

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Jamaal Williams has been a thorn in the side of Aaron Jones managers for years now! No matter how good Jones played (and he was good!), Williams was there taking precious snaps, carries, and receptions away from Jones’ total. Those managers can now rejoice, as Williams is officially D’Andre Swift‘s problem now. Williams signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with division rival Detroit but it might not be as bad for Swift, or Williams, as it was in Green Bay. Let’s dig in.

Know Your Role

To this point in his career, Williams has been an RB2 and that is not changing in Detroit. Williams has played in 60 career games but has only started 20, and has only logged a total of 622 touches. He may be heading into the 5th year of his career but he only has about two seasons of tread on those tires.  He was drafted the same year, and one round earlier, as former teammate Aaron Jones, who just signed a fat deal to stay in Green Bay. In their rookie seasons, Williams actually outplayed and outproduced Jones, by about 80 touches and 55 fantasy points. That rookie season, an RB28 finish, represents the most touches and fantasy points of Williams’ career.

Jones came into his own in year 2, and Williams was placed firmly in the backseat. As far as RB2’s go, Williams was still viable, much to the chagrin of Jones’ fantasy managers. Over the next three seasons, Williams averaged 148 touches and 113 fantasy points. During that span, he would finish as the RB44, RB34, and RB39 most recently in 2020. Not mind-blowing numbers but not bad for a real-life RB2. Williams knows how to do his thing in a timeshare situation and that is going to come in handy in Detroit.

Different but the Same

It is safe to say that this move has D’Andre Swift managers feeling uneasy. Reading quotes from new head coach Guns Mahoney, I mean, Dan Campbell made it feel like Swift was set to be a bell-cow in 2021 and Williams might ruin that situation. While Swift is unlikely to handle every touch for Detroit, there is still plenty of reason to be excited. Campbell’s most recent coaching gig was with the New Orleans Saints, a team known to utilize two RBs very effectively. Spoiler Alert: In this sequel, D’Andre Swift plays Alvin Kamara.

Campbell had been an assistant head coach with the Saints for the last four seasons. Let’s look at how their RB1 & RB2 have finished during that span:

Year RB1 Fantasy Finish RB2 Fantasy Finish
2017 RB3 RB6
2018 RB4 RB29
2019 RB12 RB29
2020 RB1 RB33

Still worried? These two RBs are going to coexist just fine. Swift spent his entire rookie year splitting time and finished as the RB18. As mentioned before, this is the role Williams has played for his entire career. No egos are getting trampled here and there will be plenty of work to go around. The only person truly left out in the cold is Kerryon Johnson, but nobody cares about Kerryon Johnson (Sorry Jason).

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Dynasty Outlook: 2021 & Beyond

Williams inked a two-year deal that will take him to his age 28 season. From both a redraft and dynasty perspective, he is a safe but not exciting fantasy RB3. He’s in that weird nebulous area where he’s both a buy and a sell if the price is right. Fortunes will not change on the back of Jamaal Williams but he is still a good player, real-life and fantasy. This does not hurt D’Andre Swift one bit, and if anything, it helps. He is going to see the majority of touches but not so many that he will be dead in two years. Swift is only 22 years old and is going to be a dynasty asset for a long time. If his current manager is expressing any doubt, pounce, now! You can see where The Fantasy Footballers have Swift, Williams, and any other RB you’re worried about ranked in the Dynasty Pass as part of the UDK+.

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