The Denver Broncos traded up in the second round to grab running back Javonte Williams with the No. 35 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many believed Williams was on par with Najee Harris and Travis Etienne and the Broncos moving up for him at least shows us how badly they wanted him. The question for fantasy is can he supplant Melvin Gordon sooner than later?
To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.
Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.
The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.
No. 64, Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos, RB
Williams has the ability to beat out Gordon, who has put a lot of wear and tear on his body throughout his short career. The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran believes that Williams will be the Week 1 starter. Of course, that is just one man’s opinion, but I’m choosing Williams over Gordon every time.
Competition for touches
The Broncos brought in Mike Boone after letting Philip Lindsay walk in free agency. And of course there’s Gordon, who they picked up in free agency the previous off season. In the end it comes down to fresh legs at running back and running backs are expendable in the NFL. They’ll want to get all they can out of Williams on his rookie contract and I expect he’s just a better back than Gordon at this point.
Team offensive expectations
The Broncos have a solid roster both on defense and offense, which should help their weakest point, which also happens to be at the most important spot, quarterback. The Broncos did bring in Teddy Bridgewater to compete with Drew Lock. That isn’t a huge boon, but that competition should help elevate whoever they get out there. ANd, maybe there is still a slim chance of landing Aaron Rodgers or DeShaun Watson or Jimmy Garoppolo.
What’s his upside?
Williams upside is as a top running back in the league. It will be tough for him to get there with Gordon in the way, but I believe he beats him out sooner than later. But, for his upside to truly hit, Gordon will likely need to miss time.
What’s his downside?
Williams’ downside is tied to Gordon winning the lead back job and keeping it all season. If that happen, the rookie would be stuck as a backup. There is no doubt that he is a risky pick this season, but his upside is great.
210 attempts, 1050 yards, 7 touchdowns — 37 receptions, 215 yards, 1 touchdown