Is the Rookie RB Ready To Break Out?

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After missing a huge chunk of the season with an injury, rookie running back Kyren Williams has become an intriguing fantasy football option heading into the final weeks of the season. With his workload having increased week over week since his return, should fantasy managers be looking to Williams as a potential starting option for Week 13?

Let’s examine the situation with the Los Angeles Rams‘ backfield and the matchup this week against the Seattle Seahawks to see what size leagues Williams might be able to be a fantasy asset in.

Kyren Williams Week 13 Fantasy Outlook

Since Williams returned from  IR, his usage has grown week over week. While playing on 27% of offensive snaps in Week 10, Williams touched the ball just four times, with three receptions and one rush. Those numbers improved to 55% of the offensive snaps, seven rushing attempts, and one reception on two targets in Week 11. Last week, he carried the ball 11 times, adding three receptions, while playing on 70% of the offensive snaps.

In recent weeks, Williams has dominated the usage on third downs and in two-minute drills. While Cam Akers had an edge on early downs in Weeks 10 and 11, we even saw Williams taking that role last week. Williams appears to be the back that Los Angeles is leaning on in passing situations, which may explain his high usage with the Rams trailing for much of last week.

With LA playing without a number of their best players, including Matthew Stafford,  Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald, it’s likely they’ll be trailing a lot in the coming weeks. Therefore, if Williams remains in his current role of dominating playing time in those situations, we could see a lot of him.

MORE: Fantasy RB Start ’em Sit ’em Week 13

It’s also worth noting that through the first two days of practice in Week 13, Akers was on the Rams’ injury report as a non-participant as he dealt with an illness. Even if he plays this week, Akers could be limited by the illness, which would push more playing time toward Williams.

In terms of his matchup this week, the Seahawks are tough to judge. They gave up a huge number of fantasy points to the Las Vegas Raiders RBs last week and are clearly vulnerable against the position. However, they are also likely to stack the box a little more against the run this week, with no clear outside option for the Rams to lean on.

Across the course of the season, the Seahawks’ defense has produced mixed results against running backs. They allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing backs on average, but that is heavily influenced by last week.

Seattle’s held opposing backs under 16 fantasy points on four occasions, three of which have come in the last four games. Meanwhile, last week was just the third time they allowed more than 25 fantasy points to the position.

Should Fantasy Managers Start Williams in Week 13?

While the development in usage for Williams has been nice to see, the fantasy points have not come with it. In Week 10, he had just 5.4 fantasy points in half-PPR. That output sat at 4.9 fantasy points in Week 11 before increasing to 7.5 in Week 12. Even last week, Williams was still below what is generally considered consistent starting value in 12-team leagues.

That is the concern with Williams and this backfield in general. With issues along the offensive line, plus a limited scoring offense, means that Williams’ ceiling is not that substantial. Meanwhile, with uncertainty over how this backfield will evolve, his floor is not all that reliable either.

MORE: Thursday RB Injury Report Week 13

It’s hard to start Williams this week in 12-team leagues. He currently sits as the RB35 in Tommy Garrett’s Week 13 RB fantasy rankings, making him a fringe option in those formats. Still, his potential role as the main back for the Rams this week puts him in consideration for 14-team leagues.

Williams is a tough player to value for Underdog Fantasy drafts this week. The relatively capped ceiling that he has in this offense does not make him all that exciting. Therefore, it will all come down to how others in your drafts value him. As a last-round upside gamble, this matchup with the Seahawks is intriguing after what Jacobs did last week, but Williams is not a player to actively target.



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