Why Terrance Williams Could Help You Win Your League
We’re all guilty of it. We do it all the time, but the best example takes us back to our childhood. Think back to all of the toys you used to play with. You would get so excited every time you received a new one. You would play with it all of the time, but then after awhile, you kind of got bored with it. The toy that was once the next best thing eventually started collecting dust in the corner of your room as you received new toys and started giving them all of your attention. Toy Story comparisons aside, this fantasy football thing that we can’t get enough of, is the closest thing to making us all feel like kids again; whether we’re happily enjoying our team’s success or throwing a temper tantrum because they’ve all gone bad and destroyed our souls. Therefore, it’s not a surprise this phenomenon has some similarities when applied to fantasy football.
Under-appreciated and Undervalued
Terrance Williams is that toy you’ve forgotten all about. Heading into his 4th season, he falls right in the sweet spot between the stud veterans that have remained near and dear to our fantasy hearts for years and the newer and shinier toys that are the WRs heading into their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd seasons. There is ADP data available for an astounding 72 WRs, yet Williams’ doesn’t even register. This despite the fact that he finished 2015 as the WR44 according to My Fantasy League, with Tony Romo playing in only 4 games and leaving early due to injury in 2 of them. The difference between Williams’ 2015 finish with the “Grandma made you a Christmas sweater this year” collection of QBs he dealt with, and where he’s currently being drafted this year, is egregious.
Tony Romo’s Impact
Before last season, Tony Romo had only missed 2 games in the previous 4 years combined. He’s healthy again heading into 2016 and as long as he remains under center, the Cowboys’ offense will see marked improvement, Terrance Williams included. Let’s take a look at two charts using data derived from the Rotoviz Game Splits App, showing the success Williams has had with Romo in and out of the lineup.
Terrance Williams’ Career Averages (2013-2015) Per Game With and Without Romo
[lptw_table id=”23132″ style=”default”] Most of Williams’ numbers don’t show much of a difference and his target total has actually decreased a bit with Romo. However, we can see Romo drastically improves Williams’ efficiency as he has caught many more TD passes when Romo is on the field. As we all know, TDs are key in fantasy football and likely the main reason why Williams sees an almost 3 points per game upgrade when playing with Romo.
Terrance Williams’ Career Averages Per Game With and Without Romo When Targeted 3 or More Times[lptw_table id=”23134″ style=”default”]
In our second chart, the “With Romo” row only factors in the games in which Romo targeted Williams 3 or more times. As you can see, when Williams is more involved in a Romo led offense, his numbers are better across the board and his TD production continues to impress.
Explosive Big Play Threat
In fact, with Romo starting 15 games in both 2013 and 2014, Williams compiled a total of 13 TD catches in just his first two seasons in the league. Even more impressive, Williams scored 8 TDs on only 37 catches in 2014. He followed that up with 3 more TDs on only 4 catches in Dallas’ two playoff games that season. Combining the regular season and postseason, Williams posted an impressive 26.8% TD catch rate in 2014.
While Williams’ 2014 TD catch rate is sure to see some regression, 11 TDs on only 41 catches the last time Williams played nearly a full season with Romo cannot be ignored. That same year, Williams posted some impressive numbers according to Player Profiler, finishing #3 overall in production premium (measures a player’s productivity across league-average situations), #11 overall in yards per target, and #5 overall in fantasy points per target in the entire NFL. Looking back a bit further, Williams’ 90th percentile ranking in terms of yards per reception in college further supports his status as a big play threat.
While volume has been an issue for Williams in the past, a quick look at Dallas’ WR depth chart should help alleviate some of those concerns.
2015 Total Targets For Cowboys WRs
[lptw_table id=”22293″ style=”default”]
Dez Bryant’s 2015 target total is misleading since he only played in 9 games last season due to injury. He’s a lock to see the most targets in this offense in 2016 if he’s able to stay healthy. Jason Witten isn’t listed since he’s a TE but with Bryant missing time last year, he actually led the Cowboys in targets with 104. However, now 34 years old and heading into his 14th season in the NFL, there is definitely reason to believe Witten’s production will start to tail off. As far as the rest of the WR corps goes, it’s clear there is a huge drop off after Bryant, Williams, and Cole Beasley. The pecking order doesn’t project to change in 2016 since Dallas didn’t bring in a single WR in free agency or the draft this offseason. With Beasley’s slot receiver role strictly defined, Williams will yet again be an unquestioned starter in the Cowboys offense and the #2 pass catching WR option for Romo in 2016.
Strength of Schedule
Formulating strength of schedule rankings based on last year’s results can sometimes be tricky since things can change drastically from one season to the next. It’s still worth pointing out the Ultimate Draft Kit has the Cowboys WRs pegged as having the easiest strength of schedule among all WR units in the league this year. Combining that with Dallas’ less than stellar defense and underwhelming WR depth chart should be enough to mitigate some of the overall pass volume concerns heading into 2016. And while Dallas’ #4 overall selection of Ezekiel Elliott in this past April’s NFL draft points to the Cowboys plans of having another ball control offense, it’s also worth noting Elliott’s NFL stardom isn’t guaranteed until we see him perform consistently at the NFL level. If he were to struggle in year one and the Cowboys end up falling short in their attempt at hiding their defense with a strong running game, then Williams’ upside would only improve. Even more, if Dez Bryant were to have complications with his foot or get injured again, then we’d really be onto something.
Williams can be a Flex consideration for your team every single week as is, but depending on how everything plays out, he also has built in upside that many late round flyer selections simply cannot offer. While he’s a big play threat starting in a good offense with one of the best QBs in the NFL, you still may not feel like playing with this Terrance Williams toy at the moment. However, once you see others having success playing with it and having fun, you’re going to get jealous. It’s time to be a trendsetter for once. Find Williams buried under all of the newer and flashier toys, dust him off, and get ready to have some fun. The other owners in your league will be wishing they were the first to have the idea soon enough.