Aug 9, 2007
by Jim Coventry, Guest Blogger
In 2005, despite missing time with injuries, Carnell Williams (RB, TB) gave the fantasy football world plenty of reasons to expect many solid seasons with 1,178 yards and 6 TDs. Instead, one year later, he gave his owners indigestion with his 798 yards and 1 TD. So, how does a keeper league owner properly place value on Williams? This article will try to help you determine if he can be useful to your team.
First of all, in redraft leagues of 12 teams, Williams is going at the very end of the fourth round (#48.) In keeper leagues that allow only a few players to be protected, he will certainly be in the draft pool. The Guru has Williams listed in the 22nd spot for keeper league RBs.
The positives about Cadillac at this point are:
- He has proven that he can be successful in the NFL, as evidenced by his rookie season and a couple of good games last year.
- He raised his receptions from 20 to 30 and added 3 YPR in his second year.
- He averaged 3.5 YPC in 2005 despite a horrible line and Bruce Gradkowski (QB, TB) trying to pose a threat behind center.
- John Gruden still believes that Williams is an elite back and can function at a high level in his offense.
- Gruden has publicly commented that Williams has improved the way he catches the ball and that should lead to about 60 receptions this season, and one thing we do know about Gruden is that he loves to throw the ball to his backs (remember Charlie Garner with the Raiders.)
- Jeff Garcia (QB, TB) brings a solid option to the offense and Garcia has talked to Cadillac about how dump-offs to the RB are a big part of the passing game.
- The Buc offensive line seems to be improved with the addition of Luke Petitgout, along with the #35 pick in the draft, Aaron Sears. Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood are in their second year on the line and should make improvements from last season.
The negatives about Williams after two seasons are:
- He has missed time and also played with limited effectiveness due to injuries- mostly to his legs.
- Michael Pittman (RB, TB) has taken carries and receptions away from Williams and the threat for that to continue still exists.
- Pittman averaged 4.9 YPC, almost a yard and a half more than Williams last season despite the same OL and QB problems.
- (as the Guru points out) Williams runs hard but often seems to go nowhere and he doesn’t wear people down.
Overall, the good news is that Williams still has a starting RB job for a coach that not only loves to feature a back, but really thinks a lot of him. Williams will be given every chance to be the dominating feature back that Gruden covets. Also, you can draft him in your keeper league in (worst case scenario) the fourth round and very likely the fifth, which is great value for any RB that is expected to carry the load. The bad news is that this is a ‘what have you done lately for me’ world, and Williams has done very little lately, so you will definitely be taking a risk if you draft him. In my drafts, I will definitely take a risk on him as a #3 RB as long as I can get him in the late fourth or early fifth round. If he plays as well as his rookie year, that would make him a steal and if he performs like Gruden expects him to, you may find yourself keeping him for many years to come!