by Anthony Haage
The Kansas City Chiefs trusted their backup running back, Damien Williams, after the loss of Kareem Hunt and it paid dividends for them. They did not have to give up any draft picks or cap space in adding any more RB’s to fill the void left by Hunt, and Williams proved them right.
Kareem Hunt only played 11 games in the 2018 season before being cut by the Chiefs. Williams took over in weeks 12-16 and into the playoffs. He had 68 total touches within those 5 games and gained 255 rushing yards (5.42 Y/C) and 142 receiving (7.1 Y/R) along with 6 total touchdowns. That adds up to 75 standard points and 15 points per game to round off the end of the season. 15 points per game is even more impressive considering Williams’ track record. His playoff games were even more impressive, which further his positive outlook for the 2019 season. In two playoff games, Williams scored 4 TD’s and rushed for 159 yards and had 91 receiving yards. In the final two games of the season, he scored 47 total fantasy points.
Heading into the season, Williams has the starting job with only Carlos Hyde for competition in regards to snaps, and Hyde has not been impressive so far in his NFL career. On an elite offense in Kansas City, Williams will get plenty of scoring opportunities like he did when he had the starting job. He scored 10 total touchdowns in 7 games as a starting running back and I’m sure any fantasy owner would be glad to have him on their roster.
The question is, when to pick him. Williams wasn’t a notable player until this year because he was on the Dolphins and did not have any opportunity. Now, as a starting running back on an elite offense, his whole outlook is different. In his four years in Miami, he only started 4 games and scored only one receiving touchdown. His yardage wasn’t impressive either, but in his short supply of started games for the Chiefs, he has shown true RB1 ability and could be a great pick for this year’s draft.
Considering the players who are definitely going before Williams, he could land anywhere between the 8th pick and the 20th pick. I would for sure take the following players before him:
Melvin Gordon III
Any pick after these 7 players should be safe enough for a player in Williams opportunity and potential for this year, as there are questions about all of the players in the draft following these seven.
To conclude, I am a huge fan of picking Damien Williams in this year’s draft, and would be willing to take him mid-second round in my own fantasy drafts. He possesses huge potential in an elite Chiefs offense and has shown great results in his short stint as starting running back. He could finish as a top 5 running back if all goes well this year, and he is a sneaky pick due to the owners who are worried about his track record.
He could be a steal if he falls to your pick in the second round. Even if you’re worried about his track record, grab a backup Chiefs running back in the super late rounds and monitor Williams the entire year (even if you don’t own him). I am a huge buyer on Williams this year and he could win a fantasy championship for the players who choose to take a shot on him.