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Jamaal Williams struggles to find running room in Week 1 NFL preseason

Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams had an uninspiring performance in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. We recap his performance.

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams saw a decent number of touches for a preseason game, especially early on, but he did not take advantage of it in Friday night’s 16-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills. One of the more underrated storylines heading into fantasy drafts is how the workload will be split between Williams and D’Andre Swift in the Lions backfield.


Williams carried the ball nine times but only gained 15 yards for an average of 1.7 yards per carry. His longest rush of the day was five yards.


Williams certainly had a golden opportunity to show the coaching staff what he is capable of with a bit of a larger workload as the lead back, and the numbers look brutal. This regime did not draft Swift, and they have talked Williams up quite a bit throughout this offseason. He has gotten some good experience running with the first team with Swift struggling through a sore groin, but this is a backfield to monitor throughout training camp.

Fantasy implications

Swift should be the No. 1 running back in this offense, and he should be selected first among the two backs in fantasy drafts. Still, with the comments made from this coaching staff, Swift is a bit of a risk at where he’s being drafted. It’s certainly possible you can get Williams several rounds later where there is a ton of value if he eventually unseats Swift for the most touches in this offense. We’d be more confident if he was able to take advantage of Friday night’s workload, however.