Many of those reading this will not have had the pleasure of actually meeting me, so let me offer you this. I cannot stand to see people isolated in social situations. If someone is new to a group, I will make it my business to go and talk to them, to try and find some way I can bring them into the conversation.
I just find it distasteful to see good people left outside alone, as Antastacia once crooned. So, with this in mind, I would just like to ask the fantasy football community – what did Tyrell Williams do to you to make you shun him the way are currently doing?
I am aware that Williams finds himself on one of the more crowded wide receiver corps in the NFL. I know that Philip Rivers has a whole lot of history with Keenan Allen, whom we all hope will be back to fitness this season. I remember clearly that the Chargers spent a high draft pick on Mike Williams out of Clemson. It has not slipped my memory that the Chargers have two very able and talented tight ends in Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates in their offensive arsenal. I know all these things, and I know other things too.
One of these things I know? Tyrell Williams is good at football.
It should be noted that I began to write this piece before the news emerged that Mike Williams may require back surgery, but I maintain that even if Mike was a picture of health, I’d rather have Tyrell.
Back in February, I wrote about how Williams had emerged from nowhere in the 2016 season to become the WR13. Not bad for a player who was the WR120 in drafts last summer. Even then, he was being treated shamefully by fantasy players. He wasn’t being drafted in 12-team mocks, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. I was expecting this to change, as I wrote,
He seems a bargain until his ADP starts catching up.
Well, his ADP hasn’t caught up, and I am here to explain why he is still a bargain.
In 2016, the Chargers suffered a rash of injuries at the skill positions on an almost unprecedented level. The most notable of which was the one suffered by Keenan Allen, who many were hoping would resume his frenetic 2015 pace. Before going down in his eighth game of that season, Allen was on course for a 178 target season, with 134 receptions and 1,450 yards.
When he didn’t even last one game of last season, Tyrell Williams stepped into the breach. His 119 targets led the team, as did his 69 receptions and 1,059 yards. His 1,000-yard season was the 11th by an undrafted WR since 2010, and of the other six players to hit the mark, Williams was the youngest to achieve it (Allen Hurns was also 24 when he managed 1,031 yards in 2015).
Williams enjoyed a healthy share of the Chargers air yards, leading the way ahead of team mates Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin. This is particularly noteworthy, considering Benjamin was brought in to be the field stretcher for the team. The image below, courtesy of the Air Yards Screener app, shows the breakdown.
If there is one criticism of Williams 2016, it is that he laid two eggs against the Denver Broncos. Oh well, he must be the first and only WR to not dominate the Broncos backfield. As we can see below, his outings against Wade Phillips boys did hit his production hard, but still didn’t hurt his overall production.
His seasonal pace in games not against the Broncos would have seen him finish the season as WR12.
Despite all of the above, he was still being drafted in MFL10s as the WR45. Using the RotoViz Screener App, I looked for players who enjoyed a similar season to Tyrell Williams in 2016, based on targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns and PPR points.
He outscored all of his comparables, with the exception of Brandin Cooks, and yet in current MFL10 drafts, all of these players, with the notable exception of Kenny Britt, are being taken ahead of him. Cooks is the 13th WR being taken, despite landing on an offense in which he will not be the primary receiver. Williams is the 45th WR off the board… this is ludicrous.
In my seasonal projections, I have Jamison Crowder as the WR28, perfectly capturing where he is being taken in best ball leagues at present. Cooks is WR20; Kelvin Benjamin is WR39 (and is WR35 in Best Ball), and Britt is WR58. 1 Tyrell Williams is my WR25, and if his namesake Mike is really going to miss an extended period time, I may even have to move him up.
While I am here primarily to mock and decry my fellow best ball drafters as fools for how they are treating Tyrell Williams, I suppose I should also applaud them, for they will have managed to secure, for a WR4 price, a player who should push to finish as a solid WR2 in the coming season. I said back in February that I expected Williams’ price to rise, in keeping with a player of his caliber.
I shall once again repeat this expectation, and be safe in the knowledge that when I draft him everywhere, I will be doing so at a price that is right. You should too.
- This ranking may lead to my being shunned by my fellow RotoViz scribes. Fair enough, I’ll die on this hill alone. (back)