Fantasy Football Outlook: Mike Williams to the New York Jets

Mar 21, 2024
Fantasy Outlook: Mike Williams to the Jets

After seven seasons as a Charger, Mike Williams signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets worth up to $15 million. The 29-year-old was released last week due to salary cap issues with Los Angeles. Coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 3 of last season he’ll hope for a bounce-back year with Aaron Rodgers in New York.

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Mike Williams The Pass Catcher

A first-round selection by the Chargers in 2017, Williams has played his whole NFL career for the same team, amassing 309 catches for 4,806 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns. He boasts an impressive average receiving yards per reception in his seven seasons (15.6) and led the league with a 20.4 in that metric in 2019. Williams dons the injury-prone label but he actually only missed 7-of-85 total contests after his rookie season, before tearing his ACL in 2023.

At 6’4”, 218 pounds, Williams is one of the premier jump-ball, deep threats in the NFL and has had varied fantasy outcomes in his tenure in the league. From 2018-2023, we’ve seen two fantasy WR1 performances in half-PPR scoring per game, one WR2 campaign, one where he ended as a WR3, and two that were WR4 or worse. Let’s take a look at his potential with the Jets in 2024.

Mike Williams’ Impact on the New York Jets

The Jets were among the worst passing offenses in the NFL last season ranking 30th in passing yards and 32nd in touchdowns via the air. Of course, that comes as no surprise after Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending torn Achilles several minutes into the season, leaving them with Zach Wilson, Trevor Siemian, and Tim Boyle to steer the ship.

Not only were they lacking in the QB department, but Garrett Wilson was on an island in the WR room as the one true weapon. He saw a 25% target share (168) with the next highest earner RB Breece Hall at 14% (95).

Enter Mike Williams. The combination of the 29-year-old and Rodgers is dreamy for a Jets team that lacked dynamic playmaking. According to Next Gen Stats Rodgers posted the most passing yards targeting vertical routes in the NFL from 2018-2022 (6,387), while Williams gained the third-most receiving yards over expected on those routes (+421) in that same time frame.

New York gains a player who can win contested balls in the red zone, but of course, he’ll have to be and remain healthy. Williams is coming off a torn ACL he sustained in the third week of last season, but in his latest presser, he assured the Jets’ media that he’s 4+ months removed from surgery and will be ready for Week 1.

The Fantasy Impact for the Jets

Rodgers gains a legitimate weapon to pair with Wilson on the outside with Xavier Gipson the assumed slot guy. He’s currently QB17 in 4for4’s early ranks and presents some value in Underdog drafts as the QB21.

Wilson should remain the alpha of this offense, soaking up plenty of targets from Rodgers on the outside, but is versatile like Williams. He’s a fantasy WR1 if the 40-year-old QB returns to form, currently WR8 in both 4for4 ranks and Underdog ADP, leaving boards on the turn at spot 1.12.

Consider Williams in the WR4 conversation for now but with the potential to outproduce if he and Rodgers develop legitimate on-field chemistry. The former Charger is the WR41 in our ranks, with an Underdog ADP of 10.01 as the WR52.

There’s also Allen Lazard who signed a four-year, $44 million contract last year only to disappoint from a real football and fantasy perspective. He’s Rodgers' guy, but likely won’t matter in our world. Lazard is undraftable in seasonal leagues and nothing more than a final-round stab in best ball with an Underdog ADP of WR106.

Bottom Line

  • Following a surprise release by the Chargers due to salary cap issues, Mike Williams signed a one-year deal to join the New York Jets.
  • He provides an explosive deep-ball prowess opposite alpha Garrett Wilson which fits well with Aaron Rodgers’ propensity for vertical routes. Both Rodgers and Williams are recovering from respective injuries but are on track for a Week 1 return.
  • Wilson remains a fantasy WR1 (4for4’s WR8) with an Underdog ADP of 1.12. Williams should be drafted in the WR4 range for now but could rise in value if he and Rodgers gel well from the start. He’s a current value as Underdog’s WR52.
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