Is Damien Williams a RB1?
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of three teams entering 2019 missing at least 700 runningback snaps from 2018. After cutting Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware going to Indianapolis, the Chiefs remain with two backs on their roster from a year ago, Damien Williams and Darrell Williams. They did bring in Carlos Hyde this off-season.
It’s presumed at this point that Damien Williams will be the lead back for the Chiefs as the team itself have expressed how impressed they have been with the sixth year back thus far this off-season. As Williams prepares to become the lead back for the powerful Chiefs’ offense, history shows that he won’t have to split time with anyone else.
When Kareem Hunt was the lead back prior to being cut last year, he played 71% of offensive snaps. Across the season, between Hunt, Ware and Williams, the running-back one for the Chiefs played 68% of all offensive snaps. When Williams was the lead back for the final three games of the season, he played 60% of snaps. The runningback two and three for the Chiefs played 25% and 5% of offensive snaps respectively.
For this article, we’re going to give Williams 70% of the workload, which is where we expect his offensive shares to land at.
So if we go and look back at how Williams performed as the runningback one for the Chiefs during the later part of the 2018 season, we find out that he averaged 11.33 rushes per game, 67.67 yards and one touchdown.
Now continuing to have one rushing touchdown per game is unrealistic, we’ll bump him down to 10 rushing touchdowns, as he’s set to have plenty of chances to find the end zone with Kansas City.
As for rushing yards, if he is to average 67.67 rushing yards per game at 11.33 carries across 16 games, he’ll put up 1,082 rushing yards on 181.28 carries. That would give him 168.2 fantasy points from rushing alone.
Where Williams really shines is in the passing game. Last season as a starter Williams averaged 5.67 targets per game where he caught all of them. He also averaged 39 yards and 0.33 touchdowns per game.
If we run those numbers across 16 games, that’s 90.72 targets, 624 yards and 5.28 touchdowns.
ESPN predicts that Patrick Mahomes will throw for 4,696 yards and 32 touchdowns. Last season, he threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. This would be a 401 passing yard and 18 touchdown difference from a season ago. It would also equate to 30 less completions.
This would be an 8% decrease in passing yards, a 36% decrease in passing touchdowns and 8% decrease in completions.
Last season, Hunt, Ware and Williams combined for 82 targets, 69 receptions, 762 yards and 5.76 receiving touchdowns. If we run Mahomes projected regression percentages, we get a total of 75.4 receptions, 701.04 yards and 5.76 touchdowns from runningbacks.
If Williams were to have 70% of the workload, he would total 54 receptions, 491 yards and four receiving touchdowns. These numbers would total 73.1 standard scoring points, 100.1 half point PPR points and 127.1 full point PPR receiving points.
Combing the projected rushing and receiving fantasy points, we would pin Williams at 241.3 standard scoring points, 268.3 half point PPR points and 295.3 full point PPR points.
These numbers would have been good enough for RB6 across all formats last season. Currently, he has an ADP of 31st and RB14 on ESPN and 28th and RB13 on Yahoo. If it stays this way, you’re getting an absolute steal in Williams at his ADP.