Author’s Note: To avoid confusion, I refer to Damien and Darrel Williams by their first names throughout most of this article.
Here are Darrel Williams’ full NFL stats.
|Year||Games||Carries||Yards||YPC||TDs||Fantasy Rank||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
The Chiefs signed Darrel Williams as an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of LSU. As a rookie, Darrel served as one of the backups to Kareem Hunt, although he was fourth on the depth chart behind Hunt, Spencer Ware, and Damien Williams. Darrel saw little playing time in 2018, as the Chiefs turned to Ware and then Damien once they released Hunt in the middle of the season.
Going into 2019, the Chiefs entered the season with Damien as their clear starting running back. They also selected Darwin Thompson in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Chiefs also signed Carlos Hyde in free agency, although they traded him and signed LeSean McCoy before the season. Either way, Darrel was fourth on the depth chart throughout the offseason and was a dynasty afterthought.
However, throughout 2019, both Damien and McCoy struggled with some injuries, forcing the Chiefs to turn to Darrel and Thompson. Darrel out-touched Thompson on the season, especially in the passing game. However, when Damien and McCoy were healthy, Darrel saw little playing time, and it wasn’t clear whether Darrel or Thompson was the Chiefs’ RB3.
After the 2019 season, the Chiefs decided to upgrade their running back position by drafting star LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round. They also signed Patrick Mahomes’ old college teammate DeAndre Washington in free agency. I believed that Darrel would need to fight with Thompson for a roster spot, as I thought Edwards-Helaire, Damien, and Washington had secured the top three spots.
Luckily for Darrel, everything changed during the run-up to the 2020 season. First, Damien opted out due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving the backup job open behind Edwards-Helaire. Washington performed poorly in camp, eventually leading to his release. Therefore, the Chiefs entered the season with only Edwards-Helaire, Darrel, and Thompson as their running backs.
In Week 1, Darrel played 33% of the offensive snaps, compared to 67% for Edwards-Helaire. Most notably, Thompson didn’t play a single offensive snap, making it clear that Darrel is the direct backup to Edwards-Helaire. Unfortunately, Edwards-Helaire had 25 carries compared to only seven for Darrel, a larger split than most expected. I believed the Chiefs would ease Edwards-Helaire into the starter’s role at the beginning of the season, but they handed him a full workload from Day 1.
Darrel presents direct handcuff value throughout all of 2020, as he would inherit RB2 value in the event of an Edwards-Helaire injury. I don’t expect him to have standalone value, but he could have a bit of FLEX appeal in positive game scripts. We’ll need to see a few more games to be sure of how Andy Reid plans to use his running backs, but that’s my prediction for now.
Darrel is a must-hold for Edwards-Helaire owners in dynasty leagues. But, otherwise, he’s an easy sell. I don’t think he has any talent above a replaceable NFL backup running back, and he only has any value because he plays in the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. If you can package Darrel with another small asset to acquire a future second-round rookie pick, I would easily do that to capitalize on his temporary value. These types of opportunities are how you build dynasty value, and you shouldn’t waste this one.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.
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