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2023 Fantasy Football Player Profile: Javonte Williams thrives at making defenders miss

2GMKR58 Jacksonville, FL, USA. 19th Sep, 2021. Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) runs with the ball during 2nd half NFL football game between the DenverBroncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Denver defeated Jacksonville 23-13 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. Romeo T Guzman/CSM/Alamy Live News

  • Javonte Williams avoided the PUP list: The question all offseason has been around his recovery from his torn ACL and LCL. Avoiding the PUP list is a great sign of his availability for Week 1.
  • Having Sean Payton as head coach could be huge for his fantasy value: Payton has a history of running backs dominating targets, which is a large benefit to a backs fantasy value.
  • His main competition is Samaje Perine: The long-time backup gives the Denver Broncos insurance if Williams’ recovery isn’t going well, but it shouldn’t stop Williams from reaching his potential if he’s healthy.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The fantasy football outlook series takes an in-depth look at a player’s fantasy outlook for the 2023 season. For help on draft strategy, rankings or for more details about other players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For rankings with better filtering along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

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Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Friday, July 28

Javonte Williams‘ player outlook

Williams was one of the most electric running backs in the NFL before his ACL and LCL tear.

  • Williams was the 35th-overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft and spent his rookie season sharing playing time with Melvin Gordon III.
  • He typically played just under 50% of Denver's snaps over the first half of the season, but he participated in over 50% of the team's snaps during the second half.
  • Gordon missed one game that season, and Williams finished as RB1 that week.
  • Williams finished RB17 on the season while Gordon finished RB18.
  • He became the starter over Gordon at the beginning of 2022. He wasn’t receiving an ideal amount of playing time, but he was at least touching the ball 16 times or more each game.
  • In Week 4, Williams played 23 of a possible 25 snaps in the first half, so it seemed like he finally was going to see the playing time fantasy managers were hoping for. He tore his ACL and LCL on the first offensive play of the second half and missed the rest of the season.
  • Williams has been excellent in his two seasons at making defenders miss. His 3.8 avoided tackles per game while running over the last two seasons ranks fifth-best among running backs, despite being in a committee nearly every game.
  • Similarly, his 1.25 avoided tacklers on receptions per game ranked sixth last season.
  • Williams avoided the PUP list to start training camp and will be eased in throughout August. Even if he’s able to play Week 1, there is concern he might not be as elusive.
  • Some running backs were able to be the same player they once were a year after an ACL tear, but some players needed an extra season of sub-optimal play before rebounding.

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