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Jameson Williams Fantasy Football Outlook: Lions Rookie Could Have WR2 Upside When Healthy

Jameson Williams Fantasy Football Outlook: Lions Rookie Could Have WR2 Upside When Healthy article feature image

Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Lions rookie WR Jameson Williams

With six wide receivers selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, who should be the highest on your fantasy football draft radar?

Our fantasy football expert teamed up with a former NFL GM to break down expectations for Jameson Williams in Year 1 with the Lions and beyond.

Jameson Williams Fantasy Football Outlook

by Samantha Previte, fantasy football analyst for Action

Landing Spot Grade: B-

The Lions made an in-draft, intra-divisional trade with the Vikings to nab Williams at No. 12 overall, which clearly speaks to how highly the franchise views him.

This grade mostly comes down to quarterback Jared Goff. The former No. 1 overall pick was dealt to the Lions last year, along with a plethora of draft picks, from the Rams for Matthew Stafford, who went on to lead Los Angeles to a Super Bowl win. Meanwhile, Goff struggled in Detroit and completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,245 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions over 14 games.

In fairness to the two-time Pro Bowler, he was supported by a weak receiving corps that consisted of rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, tight end T.J. Hockenson (who missed multiple games due to injury) and veteran receivers Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds and Quintez Cephus.

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The Lions were needy at the receiver position after adding only D.J. Chark during free agency, so Williams should have the opportunity to take over the WR1 spot once healthy. The question remains whether Goff’s passing prowess can lend itself to a 1,000-receiving yard season — something that has happened only once so far in his career (Brandin Cooks in 2018).

2022 Fantasy Potential: WR2 upside when healthy.

Williams certainly has the sky-high potential to eventually take over as the No. 1 option on Detroit’s weak depth chart. However, coming off a season-ending ACL injury means we have to assume he will miss at least a few games. Plus, his production could be hampered by Goff.

Jameson Williams Pre-Draft Evaluation

by Randy Mueller, former NFL general manager and team executive

Williams is coming off a season-ending ACL injury during the national championship game. His one and only year at Alabama was a coming out party for the junior, who caught 70 balls for 1,572 yards at an eye-popping 19.9 yards per catch with 15 touchdowns after playing sparingly in two years at Ohio State.

It’s likely that he will start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list and will have to miss the first six games of the regular season (at least), no matter what you hear coming out of his camp in pre-draft narrative.

2021 cotton bowl-odds-pick-preview-betting-alabama vs. cincinnati
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Jameson Williams

Williams is exactly, on film, what the numbers say he is on paper. He is tall, eats up ground in a straight-line fashion and can stretch out defenders vertically. He can flat out run when healthy and will force defenses to play differently. He is best when allowed to build to his speed, running deep routes and deeper crossing/over routes.

His frame is slight and he seems to be affected by incidental contract, which will throw off timing until he masters a more efficient release against press coverage. He shows a tendency to body catch balls and not use his hands to extend and pluck the ball away from his frame, but he has no issues running under and locating deep throws over his shoulder. He can make adjustments easily to downfield throws.

You’re looking at a big play receiver who will need to improve consistency catching the ball and in his details of route running to be more of a complete receiver.

In my opinion, players like Williams who transfer end up slightly behind in developing their own skill set because they have to spend so much time learning a new scheme, memorizing plays and systems. He would have benefited immensely by staying another year, in my opinion.

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