I don’t have children. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but I also love sending them home to their parents at the end of the day. Children complicate things. Just ask Karlos Williams, who now finds himself without a job after showing up to camp out of shape and reportedly letting his weight balloon up to 261 pounds. Earlier this off-season, Williams blamed his weight gain on “the injury of pregnancy”. Kids can sometimes be marriage-enders. In Williams case, it cost him his relationship with the Buffalo Bills. Or maybe, it’s just because he likes to eat more than he likes to play football. Regardless, Williams is looking for a new job, and the running backs behind LeSean McCoy are competing for the primary backup role. Let’s take a look at how the departure of Karlos Williams affects the Bills backfield.
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For McCoy owners, this is great news. The only thing stopping him from having a huge 2016 is his ability to stay healthy. If McCoy can play a full 16 games, his workload alone should push him into RB1 territory. Without Williams around to suck up the short yardage and goal line looks, McCoy could reach double-digit touchdowns on the ground to go with those that come through the air. McCoy was being undervalued by the dynasty community but he is now starting to creep up the startup ADP. In July he was the RB17 off the board in the sixth round and in August shot up to the RB11 off the board in the fifth round. It might be too late to acquire him at a good price but if he is not on a contending team, I would at least consider trying to snag him for a 2017 second round rookie pick.
It’s wide open behind McCoy and currently, we have little clarity on the subject unless you believe Bills beat reporter Mike Rodak from ESPN, who has reported that Reggie Bush was always going to be the guy to receive the majority of the work if McCoy were to miss time. Last year with the Niners, Bush missed much of the year with a knee injury after slipping on the concrete in a game at St. Louis. When the Bills signed him this offseason most believed that the aging runner would primarily be used as a kick returner, but as long as he can remain healthy, it makes sense for him to be the primary backup. His skillset matches what McCoy can do closer than any of the other backs on the roster. Reggie Bush is basically free at this point and likely on the waiver wire in most leagues.
Mike Gillislee is certainly in the mix as well after strong performances in several games during the 2015 season. After suffering a violent concussion in the team’s week 2 preseason game against the Giants, he may have lost the battle for the number two role in the short-term.
My money, however, is still on rookie Jonathan Williams. The Bills fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft missed the entirety of his final season at Arkansas due to a foot injury that required surgery, but I liked his game more than his college teammate Alex Collins who was also drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks. Williams possesses a true three-down workhorse skillset and once he overcomes the challenges of being a rookie and learns the NFL game, I fully expect him to overtake Bush as the primary backup. In DLF’s August Rookie Draft ADP, Williams is being drafted in the late second / early third but with the news of Karlos Williams’ release, you may now need to spend an early second.
Behind Bush, Gillislee, and Williams, both James Wilder Jr. and Boom Herron are likely fighting for a roster spot. Herron was productive for Indianapolis during his rookie season but doesn’t have a feature back skillset. Wilder was an interesting UDFA out of Florida State but has yet to show anything in the NFL.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking “but what about Karlos?” Beat writer Vic Carucci reported, Williams was regaining all the weight he had previously lost, which shows the team he isn’t serious about football. This is going to be a huge red flag for other teams. Combine his demonstrated lack of commitment to the game, with his four-game suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy, and you have a player that not many teams are likely to be interested in. Teams enamored with what he put on film in 2015 may be willing to take a chance on him regardless, but so far, no real interest has been reported. Teams I think might have interest include: Washington (Matt Jones AC sprain), Indianapolis (not much behind 33-year old Frank Gore), Oakland (no size behind Latavius Murray), and Philadelphia (no size behind Ryan Mathews).
In terms of what to do with him in dynasty leagues, I think at this point the only thing current owners can do, is hold and see if he gets picked up by another team. I can’t see many people offering more than a third round rookie pick for him at this point and for that price, I’d rather wait to see what happens. If I was offered a second, though, I would snap accept. If you are interested in buying to take advantage of the situation try offering a fourth, but be willing to spend a third.
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