Pick-a-Player: Meredith, Still, or Williams - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 11.09 spot

The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:

  • You need a player at that position and all three are available.
  • The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted, and none of their bye weeks are duplicated on your current roster.

We ask two groups of people: the Footballguys staff, and the great people following the Footballguys Facebook page. If you'd like to answer a future Pick-a-Player question, there are still some open ones on our page. Plus, there is a lot of other content there as well. Like and Follow us, and you can join the great discussions taking place every day.

In this case, it is a PPR league, and you are up at Pick 11.09. Would you take Cameron Meredith, Kenny Stills, or Mike Williams? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is Still - barely. See the percentages below.

Group
Percentage Picking...
Meredith
Stills
Williams
None of the Three
Footballguys Staff
15.4%
38.5%
15.4%
30.8%
Footballguys Facebook
11.5%
34.6%
30.8%
23.1%

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Jason Wood: I actually like all three players and wouldn't be surprised if any of them significantly outperform ADP. That said, Kenny Stills is the pick. He's inside my Top 40 at the position, whereas Meredith and Williams are down in the 50s. Jarvis Landry's departure leaves a massive target vacuum, and Stills is going to benefit. I don't buy into the Danny Amendola narrative and don't think Still and Devante Parker commoditize each other. Landry was good for 150 targets, on average.

I'm not going to besmirch Meredith or Williams. My main issue with Meredith is the change of teams and uncertain pecking order beyond Michael Thomas. Tre'Quan Smith is immensely talented and my choice as the eventual long-term No. 2. And Ted Ginn Jr is there.

Mike Williams is probably going to be the most popular choice among other staffers, and I get it. A high NFL draft pick with an elite athletic profile, his lack of contribution last year is legitimately explained away by his injury. With Hunter Henry out with a torn ACL, the pass-happy Chargers have targets to give out to others. Where I differ with Williams is I tend to be more conservative with injured players. If Williams has a great preseason, he will move up my rankings and could be more intriguing at this ADP.

Daniel Simpkins: I’m going to do the unpopular thing and take Mike Williams here. Yes, I know the depth chart is crowded, but with the draft capital spent on Williams and the injury to Hunter Henry, I see more opportunity coming for Williams this year. Scouting him last year, the talent was apparent, but injuries got in the way. Fully healthy this year, we should see more of what he’s capable of.

And LOL at Jason. I thought no one likes Mike Williams. I can’t trade him for a bag of dirt in any of my dynasty leagues. I have about 80% exposure to him across those leagues and am looking to bring that number down a little. Can’t get anything of value back for him.

Will Grant: The injury concerns that Jason has with Mike Williams is the exact reason I'd avoid Cameron Meredith as well. Meredith had one good season in Chicago and was trending upward going into last year before he was lost in the pre-season and never saw a snap. In Chicago in 2016, he was the last man standing in a year that everyone seemed injured. Now he's on a new team, coming back from his own injury and will be fighting for any playing time he can get. I'll keep an eye on him during free agency, but I doubt he'll be on any of my teams this season.

In contrast, I think Kenny Stills is a clear starter in Miami. He's not going to challenge DeVante Parker for the top spot, but there will still be plenty of passes thrown in his direction. Stills admitted to playing most of 2017 with a torn tendon in his finger, but he still had his best year as a Dolphin. With Jarvis Landry out of the way, Stills should continue that trend and would be an excellent bye week starter or flex wide receiver for your team.

Matt Waldman: I'll roll with Cameron Meredith as long as there are good signs that his knee is ready to go. Meredith offers a lot of similarities to Michael Thomas as a receiver. Both can play in the slot and outside. Although neither have great deep speed but can earn separation early on good cornerbacks when facing man coverage and run excellent routes. Meredith is technically sound and flexible when adjusting to the football as well. The Saints love to exploit the middle of the field and move receivers around the formation. Meredith is a significant upgrade to the existing talent in New Orleans and his skills are an excellent match for Drew Brees' tight-window accuracy.

Chad Parsons: This is one of the few pick-a-player decisions where, like Brewster's Millions, I am choosing none of the above. At best they are No. 2 receivers for their team's passing games and I am skeptical of the profile of Cameron Meredith and Mike Williams overall dating back to the prospect phase of their careers. Stills has the highest floor of the trio, but I do not see top-12 upside even if DeVante Parker is not the No.1 option in Miami this season.

Phil Alexander: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson Jr, and Tyler Lockett are going a little later than all these guys, and I like each of them better if I'm looking for a wide receiver at this point in drafts.

If forced to pick one, I'd lean Stills. He has soundly outplayed DeVante Parker in each of the last two seasons. Parker should be the focal point of the Dolphins passing game, but if Stills finished as the better receiver again this year, it would seem obvious in retrospect.

Williams needs to prove it at the NFL level. Similar to Doctson in 2017, he's essentially replaying his rookie year. Starter snaps for Williams shouldn't be taken for granted either with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Travis Benjamin also on the depth chart.

Meredith is more than a season removed from his breakout 2016 with Chicago. Besides questions about his recovery from ACL and MCL tears, he also enters a crowded wide receiver corps. If he is slow getting back from injury, Tre'Quan Smith is a redundant asset who can easily beat Meredith out for a starting job opposite Ted Ginn Jr with a strong preseason.

Devin Knotts: This is a scenario where I generally like all three players, but I'm looking for upside. Keenan Allen has a long string of injuries throughout his career and if something were to happen to Allen, Mike Williams immediately is forced into a premier role in this offense.

The next upside guy is Cameron Meredith as if something were to happen to Michael Thomas there are still other players in Drew Brees' system that he will go to, but Meredith will take on a larger role in this offense.

Kenny Stills is a player I like, but is not a player I am going out of my way to target. There are a lot of receivers in Miami, and Stills' role is going to be set with a quarterback, who most believe is not great in Ryan Tannehill.

Bob Henry: In my experience so far, Stills is the most likely to be off the board by this pick in the draft, but he's also the one I'd probably consider at this spot if the positional value/need and roster construction up to that point fit best. As Phil pointed out, Stills has outplayed DeVante Parker at every turn so far and yet he is consistently drafted after him. He's a hard player to start in normal leagues because of his volatility, but he's a great, cheap target in best ball leagues with legitimate WR1 upside for a handful of games each year.

That said, I believe Mike Williams has the most upside and it seems like he's the one who lingers on the draft board longer and therefore could be the best pick purely on the economics of the draft and his range of outcomes.

Most of the time when I'm in the 11th round, and especially now in the last week or so with more breaking news and clarity around injury situations, I'm grabbing players like Tyler Lockett, Kenny Golliday, or D.J. Moore.

Justin Howe: This is not an attractive pool; I hate being pressed into chasing wideouts from this range. The pick here is Stills, though, in my eyes - he makes all the sense in the world in Round 11, while the other two look like fliers to me.

Over his five NFL seasons, Stills has quietly been one of the league's most efficient receivers. Dating back to his 2013 debut, 100 wideouts have drawn at least 200 targets. Among them, on a per-target basis, Stills ranks fourth in yardage (9.41), 12th in touchdowns (6.8%), and 9th in PPR fantasy production (1.93). And he's missed only one game in the process. The problem is that a chunk of those numbers is weighted by Ryan Tannehill's injuries; Stills has been 32% less productive with Tannehill under center. Since the Dolphins have no intriguing options to replace their ho-hum starter with, I'm preparing for wildly volatile production from Stills. After all, over 29 games with Tannehill, Stills has been held under 50 yards in 18 of them.

The thing is, downplaying Stills' outlook necessarily boosts DeVante Parker's, and that's not something I want to do. Parker is a magnet for injuries and inefficient play, so Stills stays attractive several rounds later. He's just much more of a best-ball target than a traditional one.

Ari Ingel: Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams will split time in two-wide sets opposite Keenan Allen. The Chargers only went three-wide on 56% of their plays last year, which was below the league average of 59%. With Henry out will that change? If so, then Keenan slides into the slot and the Williamses will be outside. Great receiving core, but a bit of the unknown for fantasy right now.

Stills, on the other hand, will be a full-time player, but despite the targets vacated by Landry, I think they mainly go to Wilson and Amendola and not Stills.

If healthy, Meredith should ascend to the Marques Colston slot role with Ted Ginn Jr Jr and Michael Thomas playing on the outside. Unfortunately, there is not as much value in that role as there used to be, with the Saints going three-wide on only 48% of their plays, well below the league average.

Nonetheless, when Meredith was healthy in 2016, he had 9+ catches and over 100 yards in four games, finishing the season as a part-time player with 66 catches for 888 yards and four scores. He’s a talented receiver.

David Dodds: This one isn't close for me. I end up with Kenny Stills in the majority of my drafts due to other's lack of appreciation for the workload coming his way in 2018. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Julius Thomas logged 223 targets last season and they are no longer on this roster. Kenny Stills (and DeVante Parker) should see the lion's share of these targets and the current ADP does not reflect this.

Andy Hicks: I am definitely going to pass on Cameron Meredith. He has literally had five good games in his career and is coming off a knee injury. He was undrafted and is now with the Saints, who have a clear number one receiver in Michael Thomas and competition for the number two in Ted Ginn Jr and Tre'Quan Smith. Add in that Drew Brees is at the end of his career and the chances of a payoff here are slim.

Kenny Stills is a safer option given the departure of Jarvis Landry, but will he and can he handle more responsibility? If I needed a solid fourth or fifth receiver, then I wouldn’t mind taking Stills but believe his upside to be limited.

Mike Williams is a more interesting proposition. He was a high draft pick, but his injury derailed his rookie season. He could be a total bust in redrafts, but at this stage of the draft, if I am looking for upside, then I consider Mike Williams.

More than likely I pass on all three though.