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Jamaal Williams Fantasy: Start or Sit Packers RB in Week 3?

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Jamaal Williams of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on September 15.

Jamaal Williams had never taken a Lambeau Leap during the regular season for the Green Bay Packers until he scored the opening touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.

The third-year running back caught a 15-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to get the Packers ahead early against their NFC North rivals, making two more receptions and finishing with nine total carries on the afternoon as the backup rusher behind No. 1 option Aaron Jones.

But don’t let a snapshot of success distract from the other numbers associated with Packers backup rusher. Williams is averaging just two yards on 14 carries this season and has crossed the goal line just 10 times in his career. Only once in 34 career games has he rushed for more than 100 yards.

At the height of his production in 2018 — when Jones missed the first two games of the season with a suspension — Williams only managed to carry the ball 29 times for 106 yards combined during a high-scoring start for the Packers.

The Denver Broncos are among the league’s bottom-eight run defenses heading into a Week 3 matchup in Green Bay, and first-year Packers coach Matt LaFleur said earlier this week he wants “even reps” for Jones and Williams. But is that enough to consider Williams for an RB2 or FLEX spot on your fantasy football roster this weekend?

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Jamaal Williams Fantasy Outlook vs. Denver Broncos

The numbers against Williams don’t diminish his talent, which is obvious even in a complementary role to Jones in the backfield. The Packers are fortunate enough to have one of the league’s best passers and a pair of effective running backs with good hands. The only thing that has constrained the duo of Jones and Williams in the past has been injuries.

Williams dealt with a minor ankle injury this week and was limited during Wednesday’s practice, but he returned to full-participant status by Thursday and was cleared to go Sunday against the Broncos — a matchup made better inside the friendly confines of Lambeau Field.

Look for Williams to see regular opportunities again this week, but also consider that the offensive line creating holes for him lost one of its starters to a biceps injury and replaced him with a rookie, albeit a promising one. Even if the run stalls out, though, expect Jones and Williams both to get looks in the play-action stylings of LaFleur’s offensive system.


Should You Start or Sit Jamaal Williams in Week 3?

If Williams tomorrow was named Green Bay’s No. 1 running back, his degree of productivity would still be in question. That he is also competing with better talent in Jones raises serious doubts about whether he can deliver for fantasy owners.

Williams has tallied 5.8 points on average through two weeks of play, according to FantasyPros, but the Week 2 touchdown cushioned those numbers a bit. He projects at the 49th-best running back for Week 3 among other options with better situations, such as LeSean McCoy looking to take over for a ruled-out Damien Williams for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Final verdict: Unless you’re playing in a 14-team league and the talent is spread thin, leave Williams on your bench in Week 3 and keep him there as a handcuff for Jones. He would immediately garner FLEX consideration should something move him into a primary role, but the reward isn’t worth the risk even with LaFleur’s intent to use both running backs.

READ NEXT: Is Packers RB Aaron Jones Destined for Another Big Week?

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