Mike Boone, Melvin Gordon Fantasy Analysis: How Broncos Backfield Changes With Javonte Williams’ Torn ACL

Mike Boone, Melvin Gordon Fantasy Analysis: How Broncos Backfield Changes With Javonte Williams’ Torn ACL article feature image

Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Melvin Gordon.

The Denver Broncos' backfield was dealt a disappointing blow on Monday when it was reported that running back Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's game against the Raiders.

Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news, and he confirmed that Williams' season is over.

#Broncos RB Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s loss to the #Raiders, per source. His season is over. pic.twitter.com/4z8SgHnPhr

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 3, 2022

Williams had 47 carries for 204 yards on the season, in addition to 16 receptions that went for 76 yards. He hasn't been able to get the ball in the end zone this season, but he totaled seven total touchdowns last year.

As it currently stands, Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone are the other running backs on the Broncos' roster.

Gordon has 139 yards on 37 carries, while Boone has three carries that have gone for a total of 20 yards. The former punched the ball in for a touchdown once this year.

Gordon committed a fumble that the Raiders returned for a touchdown on Sunday and was benched. Not much of him was seen the rest of the game, with Boone handling most of the snaps after Williams' injury.

For fantasy football analysis on the impact that the injury has on the Broncos' backfield and for fantasy owners, experts Samantha Previte and Chris Raybon details their thoughts below.

Expert Fantasy Football Analysis

Previte: Gordon would be the obvious beneficiary of Williams' absence, though he has had ball security issues this season and committed a costly fumble in Sunday's loss to the Raiders.

However, Gordon, the man next in line, is rostered in 79% of Yahoo! leagues, so most managers will have to turn their attention elsewhere in the league (keep an eye out for the Broncos adding depth at the position, however).

Boone is widely available and will likely see a significant uptick in carries. I doubt Gordon takes over for all of the work that Williams was getting and believe there will be a role for Boone.

In terms of this week, Gordon is likely an RB3/borderline RB2 as the Broncos head into Thursday Night Football against the Colts. For Boone, it'll be best to take a wait-and-see approach since the sample size just isn't enough to make an assertion on his upcoming production yet.

Raybon: The question is, how fast can a player get out of Nathaniel Hackett’s doghouse?

Gordon was surely deep within it Sunday after fumbling for the fourth time this season. Even with Williams going down, Gordon got out-snapped by Boone, 19-10. The formerly seldom-used Boone also played 14 snaps in Week 3, a game in which Gordon fumbled twice.

Hackett refused to endorse Gordon after the game, and unless we get information indicating otherwise by Thursday, I think it's fair expect Boone to lead the backfield. He had his own issues in Week 4, dropping a fourth-down pass that would have kept the Broncos slim hopes alive. However, he's averaging 6.2 yards per touch to Gordon’s 4.2 this year, and coaches will always frown more upon fumbles than drops.

The Hackett doghouse is nothing to play with: Albert Okwuegbunam, who is clearly the Broncos' most talented TE, played one snap in Week 4. Gordon is their most talented runner after Williams, but he’s had three fumbles go for touchdowns in his past 11 games.

Ideally you would leave both Boone and Gordon glued to your bench Thursday, but if you need a desperation flex, Boone is the safer play.

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