Why You Should Draft Javonte Williams

by Garrett Ball
2021 Fantasy Football: Why You Should Draft Javonte Williams

Running backs in the middle rounds of drafts can be a little tricky. Sometimes when you "pay up" for a back in the early-mid rounds, you could very well be drafting a running back at or near his ceiling. Examples for this year could be D'Andre Swift, Miles Sanders, or Josh Jacobs. So it's important to find value in the mid-rounds. Seek players you can get at a discount but still have a decent floor and potentially high ceiling.

That's why you should draft Javonte Williams this year. I'm seeing a lot of upside in him for a late 5th, early 6th round pick, so he's quite possibly your RB3. That's what you should want in an RB3, upside.

Don't settle for a plain old floor play, it's far too early in the draft. Take this shot.

Why You Should Draft Javonte Williams

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College Profile and Some Preseason Action

Javonte Williams is a talented back out of UNC whom the Broncos traded up to get in the early second round this year. During his senior year, he averaged 7.3 YPC on 157 carries, and added 12.2 YPR (yards per reception) on 25 catches, and scored 22 touchdowns. The crazy thing is he did all of this while sharing the field with another hyper-efficient back: Michael Carter of the Jets.

Williams was not only a good runner and pass catcher, but he is also a good run/pass blocker. Look at some of these highlights of Williams just trucking over people no matter what he's been tasked to do:

Now, unfortunately, we don't score fantasy points for blocking, but there is something to glean from seeing this. Here's one more from this 2021 NFL preseason. Javonte is lined up in the backfield, on a passing down, and his task is to protect his QB, and boy does he.

So he's still being used for pass protection. What does that mean? More work on passing downs, which means more use in the passing game. If you can catch and block? That's a huge boost to your playing time.

What To Look Forward To

The main drawback we have here is Melvin Gordon is still on the team. Gordon will still take work away from Williams, at least in the short term. However, I don't see a team trading up to get a running back in the early second round of a draft and plan to NOT use them.

He's been fairly involved so far in the preseason, with 12 carries for 49 yards in his two games. He fumbled near the goal line in the second preseason game, which was picked up by Denver lineman Dalton Risner for the score. While fumbling isn't something you want to hear about, he averaged a fumble every 92.5 carries (counting receptions that number jumps to 104 touches per fumble) in college. Dalvin Cook averaged a fumble every 71 touches last year. Ezekiel Elliot had one every 49 touches, though to be fair last year was an off-year for the Cowboys as a whole. So take the fumble for what you will.

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Another thing that could work in Williams's favor is the Bronco's new starting QB, Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater is much more of a game manager than a gunslinger like Drew Lock.  Gordon had a good year with Lock under center, finishing as the PPR RB14 despite grading as PFF's 32nd best running back and being in a backfield committee. It's possible that if Denver goes with a more conservative offense to suit Teddy, Williams gets a bigger workload in the short term. Long-term, someone with the skill and draft capital of Javonte should be able to eat into Gordon's workload sooner than later.

The opposing defenses still have to respect Denver WR's Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, along with Noah Fant at TE. Bridgewater supported two 1000 yard receivers last year, and another with 851 yards. Defenses still have to respect the passing game, which can open things up in the trenches for the running backs, specifically Javonte.

Get Those Running Backs

With running backs being as important as ever, it's critical to target backs in drafts that could be potential league winners. That's why you should draft Javonte Williams. Javonte is being drafted right around RB26-28 according to FantasyPros ADP. If I can get him as my RB3 with potential for a lot more, I'm ecstatic.

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