Jameson Williams, a gifted Detroit Lions receiver who played at Alabama, was mostly passed over by fantasy managers in 2023 preseason drafts because he was scheduled to miss the first six games of his second NFL season while serving a suspension for breaking the league’s gambling policy. In only 16% of ESPN standard leagues is Williams rostered.
Williams is now clearly eligible to play in Week 5 after the NFL reduced the suspension to four games on Friday. Fantasy managers need to take an immediate interest in Williams because of how successful he was in college and the Lions’ selection of him with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft, right after Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, two other wide receivers.
Given that the Panthers and Buccaneers are opponents in Weeks 5 and 6, and since the Lions won the Packers on Thursday to start Week 4, it seems doubtful that the Lions will initially offer Williams a full set of targets, but there is potential. Williams, who possesses outstanding abilities like speed, fits perfectly in with Detroit’s attack, which is flourishing. He suffered an ACL tear in college and a hamstring ailment in the preseason; we can infer that he has since fully recovered.
Let’s give Williams time to reach this level even though Olave (Saints) and Wilson (Jets) are weekly WR2 choices for the remainder of the season, even though they have less talented passers than Jared Goff. Amon-Ra St. Brown is used by Goff as a high-volume option, and TE Sam LaPorta has also received targets.
David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, two running backs, are also part of the Detroit offense. Williams could be unique, but Josh Reynolds is a strong player. The Lions are tolerant.
Williams should still be added by fantasy managers in standard leagues the following week. He might finish the season as a top-30 wide receiver. He is incredibly talented. Goff works hard. The Lions have a good coach. Williams is practically a rookie, so a comparison to Jordan Addison of the Minnesota Vikings would be appropriate early on, but Addison is already on the rosters of 85% of ESPN leagues. Like the Lions, the Vikings have other choices. Get Williams shortly, but don’t immediately insert him into active lineups.