How relevant he is to you depends on your level of desperation. Are you a Willis McGahee or LeSean McCoy owner who’s about to miss out on Knowshon Moreno and Bryce Brown because your waiver priority sucks? Then you have a friend in DeAngelo Williams.
At his best, Williams is among the worst. He’s rushed for 292 yards this year at a very turtle-y pace of 3.2 yards per carry. There was a time when even though we were aware of that pace and his time share with Jonathan Stewart, we could still justify plugging Williams into a flex spot in deep leagues due to his acceleration, and ability to pop a carry for a long run. But that’s been absent too, as in six of his games this year Williams’ longest run has been for seven yards or less. Slow and steady loses every race.
But now as this week’s injury clusternmess continues to clarify itself on this fine Tuesday afternoon, Williams suddenly has value.
And for that we can thank Stewart, who’s ankle soreness following Carolina’s win over Philadelphia last night has manifested itself in the form of a high-ankle sprain, according to head coach Ron Rivera. Since he’s in the business of information guarding early in a week, Rivera also said Stewart is day-to-day. As it relates to high-ankle sprains, that kind of statement leads to immediate nose growth.
If Stewart truly does have a high-ankle sprain, then he’ll be out several weeks. For an example of such an absence we can turn to the post directly below this one, where you were told that Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is set to return to practice tomorrow and play this week, but he’s doing that after missing three games with the same injury.
So Stewart and his production that’s been better than Williams’ but only very marginally (3.6 YPC) will sit for a while, and then sit some more. That gives Williams the starting role, though Mike Tolbert will still receive a handful of touches.
You might be scoffing at this. Williams has certainly earned that reaction, especially since he thinks you suck at fantasy football. But let’s assume Stewart is out for at least two weeks, and right now that absence would encompass the remainder of the fantasy regular season. The Panthers’ opponents during those weeks? The Chiefs and Falcons.
Yes, the same Kansas City Chiefs defense that’s allowing 126.1 rushing yards per game, and the same one that just gave up 111 total yards to Knowshon Moreno, who had been inactive since Week 2. There’s only one.
And yes, the same Atlanta Falcons defense that’s only a small step above in terms of its inability to stop the run (123.2 yards allowed per game). They may have just stonewalled Doug Martin, who had only 50 rushing yards against Atlanta in Week 12. But that’s a mirage, as the Falcons’ front seven is only a week removed from giving up 127 yards to LaRod Stephens-Howling. Much of that yardage came on a 52-yard run after Stephens-Howling had only 51 total yards in his previous game, a Week 9 loss to Green Bay.
Williams’ ownership is a little scattered, but he’s still available for your value mining perusal in over half of Yahoo leagues (44 percent ownership), and he’s still reasonably unowned in ESPN leagues (31 percent available).