The running back position, in the NFL, has certainly become a hot topic, especially when being scrutinized by avid fantasy football pundits. Recently history tells us that a “changing of philosophy,” specifically pertaining to the running back position, is occurring and it is having a direct impact on fantasy player values, regardless of format. The traditional three-down, workhorse, running back centerpiece which most teams, of the early eras employed has been replaced by a committee approach, which utilizes specific skill sets for each down.
This philosophical approach in strategy, in terms of fantasy football, has made handcuffing running backs an absolute necessity, or further more, a moral imperative, now more than ever. One such case, where a “handcuff” has displayed premium production value is with the Buffalo Bills. Rookie running back, Karlos Williams has incrementally, and to a lesser degree, unexpectedly, carved out more than his fair share of opportunities and has given fantasy owners yet another player to target, as a premium handcuff, with RB1 production potential.
At 6’1 230 lbs. Williams is certainly not the fashionably undersized NFL running back we have seen find success of late. He is a combination of size, power and quickness, with an unrelenting passion for hitting the hole and banging in the trenches. Oh and did I mention he has soft hands? Although, it is important to mention he wasn’t able to truly put his pass catching ability on display until his senior season of 2014, where he posted 29 grabs for 265 yards and one touchdown.
Projected as an upright banger with no discernable second gear, Williams has certainly played well above his perceived potential, at least, to this point.
The (former) Rookie Can Run
To this point in the 2015 season, Williams has amassed 376 yards rushing on 66 carries which equates to an eye-popping 5.7ypc. He has also hit the end zone on five occasions ranking him at third best among rookie runners. Although, his reception totals have been minimal, he does have 6 catches for 72 yards with two more scores. His 8 combined touchdowns rate him tied for 3rd overall among rookie backs as well. All of this production, in what has been as a definable back-up role to All-World running back LeSean McCoy, has given fantasy and dynasty owners alike, cause for much excitement. Should Williams ever be called upon to “carry the mail” in place of an injuryed McCoy, the proverbial, “proofs in the pudding” he can in fact be a viable RB1 in the current Greg Roman system.
Summary: Karlos the Great?
It goes without saying that LeSean McCoy will undoubtedly return to Buffalo in 2016 and more to the point, as the starter. However, Williams, who was also drafted by the new coaching regime in Buffalo is has wiggled his way into being worthy of a greater role moving forward. Once the reigns are officially handed over, Williams will indeed prove worthy of great weekly numbers.
Obviously, if you are a LeSean McCoy owner it would be of the utmost importance to have him cuffed with Williams now rather than later, as his stand alone value will only continue to rise. This is one of the few handcuffs worthy of your time in acquiring. Anytime you can replace your starting RB1 with a player possessing the ability to sustain that same production you do what you need to in order to make that happen albeit, as quietly as possible.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DynastyFFactory.