AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Welcome to the fourth installment of my “Dynasty Breakdown” series where I break down the dynasty value, future value, and trade analysis for specific players within the dynasty landscape. If you are interested in the complete collection of Dynasty Breakdowns, they are linked here and at the end of the article! This article will focus on Detroit Lions wide receiver, Jameson Williams, and hopefully will make it easier to understand his unique situation and value.
Jameson Williams, nicknamed “Jamo,” will be a second-year wide receiver out of Alabama in 2023. Sadly, Jamo tore his ACL in the 2022 National Championship game against Georgia. This was devastating to his draft stock, as it was apparent he wouldn’t be ready until halfway through his rookie season, or potentially even later. Before his injury, Williams was projected to be a top-two selected receiver. After Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave, Jameson Williams was selected as the fourth wide receiver off the board in 2022, 12th overall. As expected, he missed a large portion of his rookie season due to injury. When he finally made his debut against the Jaguars in week 13, Williams only recorded a 11% snap count. In the following game against the division-rival Vikings, Williams’ snap share increased to 19%, and he only recorded two targets for one catch. Although this stat line may seem unappealing at first, it’s important to note that this one catch was hauled in for a 41-yard touchdown. On the year, Williams finished with six games played, recording nine targets for only one catch. Unfortunately, this was not a sign of things to come for Williams as this would go down as his only catch on the season. Williams did, however, show flashes that can’t be seen on stat lines. In week 15, he burned defenders to get wide open downfield, only to be underthrown. In week 18, Williams caught a 66-yard touchdown against the Packers, but the play was called back for a holding penalty. Going into year two, Jamo owners don’t seem to be too concerned about his lack of usage and/or output, as can be visualized in his values charts below.
Graphs courtesy of KeepTradeCut
Williams’ value has changed very little over the course of his first year in the league. At the beginning of the graph, he saw a decrease in value after his injury in the CFB National Championship, but saw a more significant increase soon after due to his ideal landing spot in Detroit and heavy draft capital. While his value may not have changed much, there is still some uncertainty amongst owners regarding his future, and his second season will largely dictate future changes in his value.
Extended Leave of Absence
Although Williams was sidelined further than dynasty owners may have hoped, I actually think his low usage is a positive. Going into the season, the Lions were coming off of a poor 3-13-1 record, second-worst in the league. They weren’t seen as a contender and continued to show more of the same in the first half of the season, going 1-6 in their first seven games. Obviously showing no signs of making a playoff run, the Lions saw no need to rush Williams in his recovery. Therefore, the team saw it fit to hold off on playing him, letting his body fully recover rather than senselessly risking injury. As the Lions began to gain steam in the second half of the season, many fans and owners wondered where Jamo was. I believe general manager, Brad Holmes, and head coach, Dan Campbell, decided to separate the team’s success and Williams’ recovery from one another, making sure not to start him too early as a result of being a potential contender. For 2023, Williams should be fully healed.
Of course, the major question for Jameson Williams going into this season revolves around his snap share going forward. As mentioned before, Williams will be fully healed. As a result of this, the Lions now have no reason to hold back on Williams’ snap share, and he will have plenty of opportunities this offseason to eat breakfast every morning with Jared Goff like the Rams’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback/receiver duo in 2021. In other words, he will have ample time to get acclimated to the Detroit offense.
Targets Per Route Run
While targets are important, it is more effective to consider the amount of targets per route run (TPRR) a player receives on the field. This allows us to analyze targets while separating the impact of snap share. In his six games in 2021, Jameson Williams recorded a TPRR of .265. In other words, Williams was targeted on 26.5% of his routes. While this is an incredibly small sample size, it creates a lot of optimism considering we’ll most likely see him on the field nearly four times as often in the coming years.
Showcased all throughout his collegiate career, Jameson Williams has proven that he’s one of the fastest players there is. Unable to run the 40-yard dash due to his knee injury, Williams claimed he would have ran the “fastest 40 ever.” While we’ll never know the true validity to this claim, it’s hard to argue against him. In addition to his downfield targets, Williams got another chance to showcase his speed in a rushing attempt against the Bears in week 17. He turned the opportunity into a 40-yard rush, blazing by defenders. With Williams’ game-breaking speed, his opportunity in the rushing game increases his upside in fantasy.
It is very apparent that the Lions have invested a lot of draft capital and cap space into the run game. Three of their five offensive lineman were first round draft picks and their five starters makeup over 27% of their 2023 cap hit as of this article’s publication. Not to mention, the Lions recently invested in free agent, David Montgomery, for the next three seasons. Dan Campbell has enforced a vertical power run (yes I took those exact words from Madden) style of offense. While this heavily favors feeding running backs the ball often, deep-threat wide receivers such as Jameson Williams are perfect scheme fits. Having a player such as Jamo on the field at the same time as the Lions’ powerful rushing attack forces defenses to commit players to both the box and the deep field. Look out for plenty of field-stretching play action from Ben Johnson, the Lions’ crafty play-caller, next year. Jamo’s speedy play style fits in perfectly with Detroit’s offensive scheme and will likely generate many deep touchdowns in the future.
Wide Receiver Competition
As of this article’s publication, the Lions currently have Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams as their two primary receivers, with the potential to re-sign D.J. Chark. St. Brown is the team’s primary slot wide receiver, running completely separate routes from Williams. Even as the team’s WR2, Williams should still see a significant target share. Should Chark or a different free agent receiver sign with the team, I still would see Williams over them in the depth chart based on his draft capital and overall investment. While I don’t think it’s out of the picture, I would say it’s unlikely that the Lions spend one of their two first-round picks on a wide receiver. The team has glaring holes at other positions such as interior defensive line, linebacker, right guard, and cornerback that will most likely be dealt with before addressing the wide receiver core.
Where does Williams’ Dynasty Value Land?
Although we’ve seen very little from Jameson Williams going into year two, he should be fully healthy and ready to take on the full WR2 workload of both snaps and targets. Second-year receivers trend toward significant increases in targets and Jamo is no exception. When he’s on the field, Williams is targeted frequently. At the same time, his incredible speed in a well-fit scheme creates a seemingly unlimited ceiling that can single-handedly win fantasy matchups, similar to the abilities of Tyreek Hill, Ja’Marr Chase, and Jaylen Waddle. He’s in line for a breakout season and, barring potential injury, I don’t see any reason why he can’t finish as a top-20 receiver.
Buy or Sell?
For teams that are fortunate to be in possession of Jameson Williams, continue to hold on for dear life. For teams looking to acquire Jamo, good luck. Jameson Williams should be a highly-sought after player in dynasty. In most leagues, you’ll likely have to overpay to acquire him in a trade. If you believe in the speed and the upside, he may be worth the overpay especially to dynasty teams with plenty of assets to trade away. In a 1-QB format, I would probably trade the equivalent of the 1.04-1.05 for Jamo. In other words, I’d prefer Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, and the top receivers (Quentin Johnston and Jaxon Smith-Njigba depending on their landing spots) over Jamo. In standard format (superflex), I would additionally rather have quarterbacks Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson over Jamo, therefore pushing his rookie draft pick value down to pick 1.07-1.08. As a die-hard Lions fan, I hope I’m right!
Check out other Dynasty Breakdowns here!