2016: Thomas Rawls is a consensus fourth-round draft pick in fantasy leagues despite receiving double-digit carries in only six games for the Seahawks the prior season. He finishes 2017 ranked 57th at running back.
2017: Ty Montgomery’s average draft position soars to Round 3 based largely on three fantasy-relevant performances late in the previous year. He promptly faceplants with an RB55 finish.
2018: Alex Collins routinely goes in the fourth round of drafts after coming out of nowhere to take over as Baltimore’s starter in Week 6 of the 2017 season. Collins, you’ll recall, ended last season as the RB37.
Many consider Damien Williams this year’s leading candidate to go from small-sample superstar to early-round trap. Before totaling 572 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns in the Chiefs final five games last year (playoffs included), Williams was a former undrafted free agent with a non-descript four-year NFL career. It took both Kareem Hunt’s shocking release and an injury to second-stringer Spencer Ware before Kansas City’s coaching staff even let him on the field.
But the late-season outburst was enough for Chiefs running back coach Eric Bienemy to name Williams the team’s starter entering 2019, leaving us with a difficult choice. Is Williams worthy of his lofty ADP (late-second round and rising as of this writing), or is he merely the next in a long line of unproven running backs to become a cautionary tale for fantasy gamers?
The evidence points overwhelmingly towards Williams being properly valued at worst, and undervalued at best, for several reasons:
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