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Can Javonte Williams Bounce Back?

By Jared Smola | Updated on Wed, 10 Jul 2024, 8:25 AM EDT
Javonte Williams Headshot

Broncos RB Javonte Williams was one of the least efficient runners in the league last year. He averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and ranked 42nd among 49 qualifiers in NFL Next Gen Stats’ Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt. It's certainly worth noting that Williams was returning from an October 2022 multi-ligament knee injury. He was cleared for the start of training camp last summer, but it’s fair to wonder if the knee was still a factor throughout the season.

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

Whether Williams can rediscover pre-injury form is one of the bigger questions in fantasy football. If he does, there's exciting upside here.

Williams was the 35th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft after averaging 6.3 yards per carry across three seasons at North Carolina. Then he turned in a promising rookie campaign, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and ranking top seven in yards after contact per attempt and Pro Football Focus Elusive Rating.

Williams also finds himself in a great spot for fantasy production. HC Sean Payton produced a top-22 RB in PPR points per game for 15 straight seasons before last year. Williams finished just 34th to lead 2023 Broncos. But the team ranked sixth in total PPR points at the position.

Denver added fifth-round rookie RB Audric Estime and undrafted rookie RB Blake Watson this spring. RB Jaleel McLaughlin returns after flashing as a rookie, and RB Samaje Perine remains on the roster as of now.

But a healthy Williams remains the biggest talent in this backfield -- and the only one with a realistic chance to play a big role in the run and pass games. We just saw Payton feed him 15.4 carries and 3.9 targets per game over last year's final 11 weeks.

The risk with Williams is obvious. But he also boasts clear top-20 fantasy upside.

Projected ADP Movement

Drafters have been cautious with Williams throughout this offseason. He sits RB32 in current best ball ADP and RB30 in our consensus ADP.

He's risen from the 10th round to the 8th over the last couple of months, though, and we could see him climb further with positive training camp reports.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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