The Maj | August 11th, 2019
In today’s position battle, we are going to put Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders against Damien Williams of the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Fantasy Football Calculator in 12-team PPR leagues, both players currently have the same ADP (2.10). Brown is being drafted as the WR9 while Williams is being drafted as RB12. Brown finished as the WR5 in 2018 while Williams finished as the RB2 over the last three weeks of the season.
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Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders
Brown has been the best wide receiver in football over the last decade. You would have to go all the way back to 2012…yes almost seven years ago to find the last time Brown finished outside of the top five wide receivers in PPR scoring. That is the definition consistency and phenomenal play when it comes to fantasy football. Brown hasn’t finished with less than 300 points in a season since 2012 and hasn’t averaged less than 20 fantasy points per game since 2013. Brown may be 31 years old, but he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and goes to an offense with a quarterback who was an MVP candidate in 2016 before getting injured.
When deciding or not to take Brown at his current ADP of 2.10, you have to think to yourself what can hold this guy back? The answer is simple, it’s himself; welcome to the world of diva wide receivers. Brown possibly has more red flags than more controversial wide receivers like Tyreek Hill. As of late with Brown, there is the mysterious case of frostbitten feet from not wearing the proper footwear during cryotherapy. Now he is willing to retire if he can’t wear his old helmet, mind you the NFL has 34 approved helmets to choose from and he wants the one he cannot use. Brown is his own worst enemy, not the numbers, not the Raiders, not Derek Carr, not Jon Gruden…it’s Brown.
Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
As mentioned earlier, over the last three weeks of the fantasy season Williams was the RB2 bested only by Chris Carson. Most fantasy owners may have a soft spot for Williams with him having helped carry their team through the fantasy playoffs and championship game. In weeks 14 through 17, Williams averaged 22.3 fantasy points per game, which is RB1 overall territory. Williams was the second more productive running back last year according to PlayerProfiler.com metric values as well as 11th in fantasy points per opportunity. Williams never carried the ball more than 15 times during the season but still managed 5.1 YPC speaking further on his efficiency, he also averaged 6.6 YPC when facing a stacked front. At his current ADP (2.10) that is excellent value to capture an RB1 at the back of the second round.
Williams’ fantasy numbers were off the chart, but it was a small sample size. Williams was a cast off after spending four seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He started only seven games in his entire career and that is including the three with the Chiefs in 2018. The jury is still out on whether he can be a full-time back in the NFL. Andy Reid has also come out and said that the Chiefs will use a running back by committee but as the FantasySuits always preach “don’t believe preseason coach speak” but it is enough to add trepidation when having to make that decision at the back of the second round.
This may be the most difficult fantasy battle you will read because if Brown came with zero baggage, the choice would be an easy one. However, I would be concerned about taking Brown or Williams at their current ADP (2.10). Brown has the foot and helmet issues amongst others and even with all that aside, he is playing for a new team for the first time in his career. Williams has a lot of upside especially at the running back position, but he doesn’t come without his own concerns. Is Williams capable of carrying the load full-time? Can he replicate the last four weeks of last season? Is Reid bluffing about using a running back by committee?
Since this is a battle and if I had to choose between the two, I always say don’t give up on talent which leans Brown’s side but he can’t be trusted, so I would have to go with Williams given the surrounding circumstances. The real answer is to avoid both of these players if possible, at their ADP. Wide receivers going after Brown that are proven productive guys include Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, T.Y. Hilton, and Adam Thielen. Running backs being drafted after Williams don’t necessarily provide the same consistency as the wide receivers but guys like Kerryon Johnson, Marlon Mack and rookies Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery will provide much better value at their ADP.
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