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At first, it was surprising the Los Angeles Chargers selected Mike Williams as their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

After all, Keenan Allen should be ready for camp, Tyrell Williams is fresh off a 1,000-yard season, and tight end Hunter Henry could be ready for a big jump after catching seven touchdowns in 2016.

Philip Rivers also has Antonio Gates, Travis Benjamin, and Dontrelle Inman to target. However, it looks like this is a move for the future. Allen has only played in a total of nine games in the past two seasons. Gates is near the end of his career, and while Henry is talented, he is still just a 22-year old tight end.

Adding the 6-foot-4 receiver may seem like overkill right now, but it could pay off in the future. If Allen gets hurt again or underperforms, the Chargers are hoping they have Allen’s future successor. If Allen returns to form, then this could be one of the top offenses in the NFL with Allen, Williams, and Henry.

Today, we are going to answer the question all Fantasy players are asking right now: Should I draft Mike Williams?

Here’s your answer…

Should I Draft Mike Williams?

College Stats

Williams made a name for himself in 2014 with 1,030 receiving yards off of just 52 catches. However, a neck injury cut his 2015 season short.

Though, he came back strong in 2016 and posted a 98-1,361-11 stat line.

In his draft profile, Williams is compared to Plaxico Burress. He’s tall (6-foot-4) and solidly built (218-225 pounds), and his long arms and big hands help him win jump balls. He’s not a burner, but the rookie is able to use his physical strength to extend plays.

But it still remains to be seen if that physicality can transfer to the NFL. Williams has been knocked for his concentration and route-running abilities. It may take him longer than other rookie receivers who are more polished with their routes to get acclimated to the NFL.

 

So what will this mean for him in the 2017 Fantasy Football season?

Let’s take a look…

 

2017 Fantasy Football Outlook: Mike Williams

As a 6-foot-4 receiver, he’s built for red-zone targets. And Williams is especially lucky because Rivers loves tall players. In 2016, Gates (6-foot-4) and Henry (6-foot-5) finished with the most red-zone targets. In fact, Gates has finished in the Top 2 in targets in the red zone each year since 2014.

And as the second receiver off the board, some Fantasy players may think Williams will play an important role right away.

But before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to analyze this offense more. As I mentioned earlier, it is packed with receivers right now. If Allen is able to be a top-tier receiver, Tyrell Williams serves as a solid No. 2, and Henry and Gates form a dynamic combo in the red zone, there’s little reason to expect the rookie will receive meaningful playing time.

Also keep in mind Melvin Gordon has added a new dimension to this offense. Before his 997 rushing yards in 2016, the Chargers had not had an individual running back rush for more than 900 yards since Ryan Mathews in 2013.

Rivers may not need to throw as much if Gordon is productive, and we saw an example of that last season. In 2015, Rivers attempted 662 passes. The 35-year old quarterback only attempted 578 passes, which is a decrease of 12% from his 2015 totals.

 

Right now, players are drafting Williams at the end of Round 12, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com.

That could climb as we get closer to the season, as hype trains can drastically change average draft positions (ADPs). If you understand it’s not a guarantee Williams will have Fantasy success in his rookie year, he could be worth stashing on the bench.

If Allen underperforms or gets hurt again, he could have a chance to earn an important role.

But because his routes aren’t crisp, he still needs to build a rapport with Rivers, and he will have a learning curve in year one, I’m holding my expectations in check.

For the 2017 Fantasy Football season, I’d look elsewhere for Fantasy production from a rookie player.

 

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Corey Parson and the crew over at the FNTSY Sports Network put together a player profile on Williams. Do you agree or disagree with our assessment or the assessment by Corey? Hit me up in the comments and let’s get a discussion going.

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Jack Delaney

Jack's love of craft beer and gangster rap is only surpassed by his love of pass-catching running backs. He was a top-40 finisher and $1,500 prize winner for the 2014 RotoBowl, a top-50 finisher in the 2015 Mock Draft Online Championships, finished first in draft accuracy for quarterback rankings in 2015 on Fantasy Pros, and was a contributor to the 2015 and 2016 The Fantasy Football Guide.
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