The NFL preseason wrapped up this weekend, meaning the start of the regular season is just days away. Now, most people are busy with fantasy drafts and making season-long wagers. Some key positional players have been discussed ad nauseam, leaving a treasure trove of value picks to be uncovered.
Gleaming out like a sapphire among a pile of sand is Javonte Williams. After a disastrous sophomore campaign, the once-highly sought-after Denver Broncos running back was seemingly lost in the rubble. Williams tore his ACL and LCL in Week 4 last season, prematurely ending his campaign.
Almost a full year of recovery later, Williams is ready to contribute to the Broncos’ offense significantly. Foolishly, many lost sight of Williams, making him one of the best values to target in fantasy football and season-long props.
Don’t lose sight of the environmental advantages of running in Denver. Phillip Lindsay, C.J. Anderson, Knowshon Moreno, and Willis McGahee are the latest string of ball carriers who eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau at Empower Stadium at Mile High.
Arguably, Williams enters this season with a better pedigree than any of those rushers. The former second-round pick averages 4.4 yards per carry, surpassing 900 rushing yards in his rookie season. In 2021, Williams tallied 903 rushing yards in 17 games (only one start) while playing behind Melvin Gordon. This lonely sapphire now has the backfield to himself and is ready to shine.
From 1995 to 2006, 11 of the 12 top Broncos rushers surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in a year. Williams could start a new streak in 2023.
More beneficially, Williams will be the centerpiece of a run-focused offense. Sean Payton took the reigns of the Broncos this offseason, and his last few seasons with the New Orleans Saints is a blueprint of what to expect.
The Saints’ Payton-run offense finished top five in percentage of rushing plays in three of his final four seasons in the Big Easy. Those numbers look just as impressive in absolute terms. On average, New Orleans ran the ball 29.1 times or more in all but one of those seasons, resulting in the emergence of Alvin Kamara.
That running game emphasis could be even more pronounced with Russell Wilson under center. Even in his prime, Wilson wasn’t a top-end passer. The nine-time Pro Bowler eclipsed 4,000 passing yards just four times in his career, never coming close to the league leaders. Now that he’s in the twilight of his career, Payton should understand the importance of insulating Wilson, amplifying Williams’s role with the team.
Still a Top Asset
Even though he’s coming off knee surgery, Williams still has an elite ceiling. Drafted as a primary, bruising back, Javonte has flashed top-end skill in his limited playing time. A knee surgery may have delayed his inauguration as a top-producing fantasy back, but now Williams is ready for his grand entry.
Williams is ready to blow the dust off his elite fantasy profile. Currently being drafted as RB28, he is a feature back who will have free range in the Broncos backfield. He is the late-round running back to target in fantasy drafts.
Moreover, Williams presents tremendous value in season-long player props. The North Carolina product has fallen so far off the radar that he doesn’t have his own rushing prop at most sportsbooks. However, at +4000 or better, he’s worth consideration to lead the NFL in rushing yards.
Williams will extend the line of top-end Broncos running backs, leading many to fantasy and betting glory.
Stay ahead of the game and elevate your sports betting experience with SportsGrid.