Should You Start Kyren Williams vs. the Chiefs? Fantasy Outlook for Rams Running Back

We have seen Kyren Williams’ fantasy football value take a huge jump in the past week or so. With the Los Angeles Rams‘ backfield a little less crowded after the release of Darrell Henderson, does Williams have a chance to return fantasy value for managers in Week 12 when they face the Kansas City Chiefs?

Kyren Williams Fantasy Outlook for Week 12

The Rams’ offensive share from last week is really intriguing. Williams led the RB position in terms of snaps (55%), with Cam Akers at 39% and Darrell Henderson at just 6%. However, it was Akers who led the team in touches with 14. Meanwhile, Williams had eight touches from nine opportunities.

When you break down how the snaps and opportunities split out, there is a clear breakdown to consider. Akers played on nearly 75% of the early down snaps, while Williams saw all but snap in either third-down or two-minute drill situations. The Rams did not have any goal-line opportunities in this game, but it was interesting to see them split touches between Akers and Williams in short-yardage situations.

MORE: Week 12 Fantasy RB Start/Sit Recommendations

Williams’ role appears to be as the receiving back, which has mixed value. In PPR formats, that offers a potentially nice floor, but it does mean his ceiling is somewhat limited. There is some potential, with the pair splitting short-yardage work, that Williams will be involved around the goal line, but we will need to see how it plays out. It could also be extremely inconsistent.

We also have little frame of reference for what the Rams’ offense will look like this week, with Bryce Perkins expected to start. Perkins has been with the Rams since 2020 but had not taken an NFL snap until Week 10 of this season. We should expect the Rams to lean on the run game early this week, but against the Chiefs, they could quickly find themselves chasing.

The Chiefs have very much been an average matchup for opposing RBs this year. They have allowed an average of 19.91 fantasy points to the position, which is 0.04 below the league average through 11 weeks.

In the last three weeks, they have allowed two fantasy performances of more than 20 fantasy points. Those 20-point performances have sandwiched a 9.6-point performance. The performances in Weeks 9 and 11 came when the starting RB against them was Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler, with Travis Etienne the starting back in Week 10.

Should you Start Kyren Williams in Week 12?

The Rams backfield is a tough one to judge, even if the departure of Henderson has somewhat cleared things up. Heading into this game, the evidence we have is that Akers will be the early-down back, and Williams will be the receiving back. Normally, that would put the higher ceiling with Akers, but in this matchup, it could be different.

The expectation is that the Rams will struggle in this game. The Chiefs are more than two touchdown favorites on many sportsbooks as of Thursday morning. Therefore, the Rams could find themselves chasing this game for the majority of the second half. In the first half alone, the Chiefs are favored by around 10 points.

That could mean we see a lot of Williams on the field in the second half. If that is the case, his ceiling is intriguing just because the Rams could rack up a lot of “garbage time” production. Additionally, with Tyler Higbee struggling with a knee injury, the Rams face being without their top-two pass catchers this season. That could push more targets into Williams as the check-down option.

It is hard to know exactly what Williams’ workload will look like. For that reason, he is more of a 14- or 16-team league consideration than in 12-team formats. Additionally, in PPR formats, he carries a greater relative value than in non-PPR.

In Tommy Garrett’s half-PPR RB fantasy rankings, he has Williams as the RB48, so he is just outside of 14-team Flex consideration. I am a touch more bullish on Williams and would look to play him in 14-team leagues, especially half or full-PPR formats.

The other place that Williams carries extremely intriguing value is as a late-round selection in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball contests. Williams’ value is low enough to a point where he won’t require significant investment, but the potential for him to see 15-plus touches and even find the end zone is enticing in that format.

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