When Spencer Ware returned to the Chiefs’ eventual 27-24 win over the Ravens in Week 14 after suffering a shoulder injury in the second quarter, it appeared that he avoided any serious problems. That was reinforced by the way he played in the second half, finishing the game with 75 yards on 18 carries and five receptions for 54 yards. Tyreek Hill ended the win with a significant limp because of a heel injury, but it seemed that the Chiefs would have Ware ready to go for their huge showdown with the Chargers on Thursday night. That seems to have flipped early this week.
While Hill managed to practice in limited fashion Tuesday, Ware was out because of the shoulder, as well as a hamstring issue that popped up in the win over the Ravens. He was out again on Wednesday and is officially listed as doubtful for Thursday.
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Damien Williams will fill in for Ware should he be unable to play, and that alone should make him a priority target on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues. Since the team waived Kareem Hunt in advance of its Week 13 win over the Raiders, Williams has played 39.5% of the snaps, racking up 13 carries, six receptions and seven targets. He has turned those 19 touches into 75 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came last week.
Should Ware take a rest this week, Williams would be a must-start back, carrying RB2 expectations. Anthony Sherman and Charcandrick West would work in with him, but it’s likely Williams would have a role akin to what Ware has enjoyed the last two weeks. Even if the Chiefs lose to the Chargers this week, they’ll still be in first in the AFC West—and holders of the top seed on the AFC side of the playoff bracket—by virtue of tiebreakers. The doubtful designation already makes it a near-certainty that Ware will not play Thursday, but the fact that the Chiefs can lose that game and still win their division and earn home-field advantage in the AFC gives them even more reason to take it easy on him and feature Williams.