Fantasy Reaction: Javonte Williams Out for the Year with Torn ACL, LCL
The Broncos’ leading rusher and popular 2022 fantasy football breakout candidate is out for the year after suffering a season-ending right knee injury Sunday against the Raiders. Second-year RB Javonte Williams tore the ACL and LCL in his right knee while also suffering a Posterolateral (PL) corner injury. Williams will have surgery to reconstruct his knee in the next few weeks then begin rehabbing for the 2023 season. Unfortunately for Williams, these multi-ligament knee injuries, especially those that involve the LCL and PL corner, take much longer to recover than a “clean” ACL injury. The research supports that the majority of NFL players who undergo ACL surgeries require a 9-10 month recovery timeline before they return to the field. However, for this type of significant injury, the timeline will get pushed back, with a full recovery taking closer to a year, if not longer. As we saw with J.K. Dobbins, who also suffered a torn ACL and LCL (plus meniscus) injury in August of 2021, he took longer than a year to return to the field and may still not quite be back at 100%. Williams, of course, suffered his injury later than Dobbins, and while no two knee surgeries are the same, fantasy managers can at least use Dobbins’ recovery as a rough guideline of what Williams’ 2023 offseason might look like. I wrote more about how ACL injuries after RB performance in the first year following surgery in this article. No doubt, this is a blow to Williams’ 2023 redraft value and his dynasty value.
Not only does #Broncos RB Javonte Williams have a torn ACL, but the MRI revealed a a torn LCL and posterior lateral corner, sources say. A significant injury and a long road back.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 3, 2022
As for 2022, the Broncos will likely have to add another back to the roster as they currently only have veteran Melvin Gordon and journeyman Mike Boone on the active roster. Devine Ozigbo is on the practice squad and is a candidate to be elevated to the active roster should the team forgo adding a free agent or making a trade. Gordon has been extremely productive in his career as a lead back, but he’s now 29 years old and hasn’t logged more than 250 carries in a season since 2017. Fantasy managers assuming Gordon will immediately step in as a bell cow back may be disappointed, especially when examining the RB usage from this past Sunday. After Williams exited with his knee injury, it was actually Mike Boone who paced the duo in snaps, routes run, and targets while tying Gordon for carries. The data below is courtesy of PFF.
Moving forward, this is likely to be a committee with Melvin Gordon likely to be the leader of the backfield, but if yesterday’s usage is any indication, Boone may be the team’s preferred pass-catching option, and we know targets are more valuable than rushing attempts in terms of producing fantasy points. The Broncos’ offensive line has been playing well as a unit. Entering Week 4, the Broncos’ O-line ranked 10th in adjusted line yards. That said, if both RBs are getting touches, we may see the ceiling capped for both options moving forward. Both backs are worthy of waiver wire adds moving forward. It’s worth noting that Mike Boone has been effective whenever he’s gotten an opportunity, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt in his career. For more waiver wire analysis, be sure to tune into tomorrow’s episode of the Fantasy Footballers Podcast.