It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?
Today's video focuses on Chiefs veteran RB Damien Williams.
Draft or Pass at current ADP (average draft position): 92 (RB36)
After breaking down Chiefs rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in a recent Draft or Pass, let’s zone in on his backfield counterpart.
Until winning Super Bowl LIV, Williams has been an afterthought throughout much of his NFL career.
Undrafted in 2014 after two solid, but unspectacular seasons at Oklahoma, Williams spent the first four years of his career ho-humming along with the Dolphins mostly as a third-down receiving back behind the likes of Lamar Miller, Jay Ajayi, and Kenyan Drake. He ran for 477 yards over the course of four seasons but stood out as a quality pass-catching back with 85 receptions.
He came to Kansas City in 2018 as pure depth, with Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, and Charcandrick West all ahead of him on the depth chart. Hunt was released midway through the season, Ware and West both missed time with injury, and Williams got the call beginning in Week 12 and capitalized on the opportunity. He'd finish the final three games averaging 5.97 Y/A, catching all 14 of his targets and four combined touchdowns, and then lit up the Colts and Patriots in the postseason, cementing his place as the Week 1 starter in 2019.
Despite an ADP ranging as high as up to RB8 in PPR, Williams would start just six games, racking up 711 all-purpose yards for a solid seven touchdowns. But once again, Williams' best production came down the stretch, rushing for just under 100 yards/game in four of his last five with more than half of his total touchdowns. He lit it up in the postseason, rushing for 196 yards, catching 11 passes for 94 yards and finding the end zone six times.
And damn, can that dude run a fantastic wheel route or what?
It took Andy Reid 22 years as a head coach in the NFL to finally win a Super Bowl, and the Chiefs in a pandemic-filled offseason are essentially bringing the whole band back together to try and do it again. Edwards-Helaire is the future, and the comps to Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy are real, but Williams is still a part of this offense, and they value his role in it.
Arrowhead Report’s Joe Andrews wrote about the stacked running back room in Kansas City, with Running Backs Coach Deland McCullough weighing in on Williams’ impact en route to a Super Bowl:
“One thing is looking at Damien’s past, I think since coming to the Chiefs, we’ve gotten a whole lot out of him,” McCullough said. “He’s been able to show not only us, but whoever looked at him previously that he’s a higher-end player. Consistency is something he wants to continue to work on. But I think when he shined, he shined at a level to help us get over a hump in a few games, and obviously helped win the Super Bowl.”
In a 12-team PPR league, Edwards-Helaire's ADP currently stands at 92 (RB36), which puts him as a mid-eighth round pick.
While Edwards-Helaire's draft status may be soaring due to deserved hype, the value Williams brings to this offense is substantial as a mid-round value with enormous upside. Once I have the bulk of my skill position starters set in Rounds 1-6 (please remember to wait on a QB), I have no qualms reaching for Williams even as early as Round 7 with skill-set he provides in this offense.
MORE FROM SI FANTASY: