Summer and the off-season are upon us. As dynasty owners, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In the Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Risers and Fallers series, we break down some of the fantasy-relevant dynasty players, including rookies, and look at their values while providing actionable advice on what to do with them.
Javonte Williams, RB DEN (June 2021 Rank=61.86, Current Rank=11.86)
Williams’s stock has risen almost as fast as the bids Rob Walton placed to become the new owner of the Denver Broncos. The soon-to-be second-year running back has climbed 50 spots in the DLF overall rankings. That is no small feat.
The re-signing of Melvin Gordon in April will somewhat slow the hype train down for perhaps one more season, but make no mistake, Williams’s breakout is looming. He now sits as the RB4 in the current DLF positional rankings for running backs. Last year at this time, the rookie was not even in the top ten.
The Future is Bright
Williams just turned 22 on April 25th. Given the success that both he and veteran Gordon saw in 2021, the best is yet to come. The 2022 season will likely be Gordon’s last in Denver, leaving the backfield all to Williams. The North Carolina alum finished 13th in rushing yards despite splitting time with Gordon, who finished 11th himself – not too shabby for one backfield. The duo combined for an impressive 1,821 yards on the ground.
The dynamic tandem also combined for 12 rushing touchdowns and accumulated an additional 529 yards plus five touchdowns in the receiving game. This will leave a ton of meat on the bone for Williams once Gordon departs via retirement or signs with another team in 2023. The ADP spike mirrors the rankings increase and have these future expectations built into the cost.
Williams’s jump is impressive. Hopefully you were able to get in on the action before his increase in rankings, ADP, and cost to acquire. One other factor we must consider here is the lack of depth at the running back position in dynasty leagues. The days of the workhorse running back are long gone so the fact that Williams has a chance to have this job to himself factors in here as well.
Williams and Gordon tied for 16th in the NFL for rushing attempts in 2021 with 203. Both players went over 900 yards and the elder of the two had double the touchdowns (eight to four) but the youngster doubled up his mentor in 20-plus yard carries to the tune of six to three.
The workload likely won’t be split as evenly in 2022 as Gordon just recently 29, and carries a lot of miles on his frame, having 1,761 career regular-season touches. If we are lucky, the goal-line work will pivot to Williams this season and for a good part of his future.
The Denver Broncos ranked in the top ten of rushing play percentage by team and are eighth overall throughout the past three seasons. They are a run-first team. Perhaps the acquisition of Russell Wilson will change that some, but it should not negatively impact Williams.
We can expect Denver to continue to be run-heavy, especially in today’s sense of the term in a passing league.
Williams had the best fantasy season out of all the rookies not named Najee Harris in 2021. That trend should continue in 2022 and I like Williams to flirt with a top-five finish.
Travis Etienne didn’t play a snap and Trey Sermon was a major disappointment but it was good to see Williams lived up to the draft capital (35th overall) Denver had invested in him. The future is bright.
Conclusion/Course of Action
I am a fan of Williams and am definitely in the market if the price is right. His value will continue to rise if the future plays out as anticipated. Buying now may be wise even if you feel like you have to overpay to acquire the young stud. Below are some trades that have gone down of late.
These trades should give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay to put Williams on your roster. Is it a lot? It sure is, but it could pay handsome dividends long-term. No risk it, no biscuit. Go get him.