Damien Williams announced he is opting out of the 2020 NFL season, meaning he will not play. If you were thinking of drafting Williams, you should instead turn your attention to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. (7/29)
Chiefs GM Brett Veach said Damien Williams will enter the season as the starting running back, despite Kansas City spending a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire. When healthy, Williams has been dominant in Kansas City’s backfield as a runner and pass-catcher. In the seven games (including postseason) where he played at least 60% of the offensive snaps, Williams averaged 106.5 scrimmage yards and scored 14 touchdowns.
The obvious downside to Williams is the arrival of Edwards-Helaire. Even though Veach said Williams will enter as the starter, he also referred to Edwards-Helaire as “a franchise running back.” Williams was able to shine late in the season last year because he saw more playing time, but if that gets cut then his production will obviously suffer. Williams is also injury prone, playing in just 11 games last year and playing fewer than 40% of the snaps in three games as he left early.
2020 Bottom Line
Williams has been very productive when he’s on the field, but his injury risks and the arrival of Edwards-Helaire are real concerns. He’ll still be useful as a fantasy option, but he’ll only bring that high-level of production if Edwards-Helaire misses time with injury. Williams should be viewed as a fairly productive back and a high value handcuff. We expect him to finish with around 900 scrimmage yards, and be a top 30 back in fantasy.