D’Andre Swift will be the more valuable RB on the Lions, but Jamaal Williams will be a target for me very late in drafts.
First of all, in a recent film session with The Athletic, Anthony Lynn gushed over Williams. This is not going to be a workhorse situation for Swift by any means.
He called Williams his “A” back and Swift his “B” back. The “A” back is the bigger guy who can play all three downs, run between the tackles, and block better.
Think 2017-2019 Melvin Gordon as the best version of Lynn’s “A” back, and 2020 Josh Kelley as Lynn’s worst attempt at having an “A” back, although Kelley’s usage last year was interesting.
Despite giving Austin Ekeler (his 2020 “B” back) 18.6 touches/game, he still started the season off giving Kelley 35 carries through the first two games of the season. Kelley happened to suck, so that plan didn’t continue.
Despite having a pass-catcher like Ekeler alongside him, Gordon averaged 5.1 targets/game over three years as his OC, averaging 50 catches/season during that span.
There’s a little bit of upside here because of Lynn’s usage of RBs. While Phillip Rivers loves targeting RBs, Gordon’s usage in the pass game went up despite being on the field more the year prior to Lynn’s arrival.
I’m not saying Williams is of Gordon’s pedigree, but it’s looking like Lynn is eyeing a Gordon-lite role for Williams. Somewhere between Gordon opportunity and 2020 Josh Kelley/Kalen Ballage opportunity.
Some more words about Williams: “This man has soft hands, really good ball skills, you can use him in the passing game… he can catch the ball extremely well. He’s underrated as a wide receiver… he can run… short yardage, goal line, four minute offense, and thinks like that…. I know we have a good 1-2 punch with him and Swift.”
With a great offensive line, a team that has no choice but to utilize their RBs given the lack of offensive weapons outside of their backfield, Williams can be a usable fantasy asset bought as a low-risk lottery ticket late in drafts. If Swift were to ever go down, Williams has a ton of upside as a 3-down handcuff.