2008 was a nifty season for DeAngelo Williams, the Memphis alum went good for over 1500 yards and 18 scores on the ground and added 2 more in the air. He was fantasy football’s best player in standard leagues even while sharing the load with Jonathan Stewart. The DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart duo was great again in 2009, but that was also the beginning of the lingering injury issues that have plagued the Black Cat Tandem ever since.
Fast forward to 2013 and Jonathan Stewart’s health is unknown, although, this recent diddy, or twitty isn’t optimistic:
— Dave Richard (@daverichard) July 30, 2013
So with DeAngelo Williams likely to sit atop the Panthers’ RB Depth Chart, at least to begin the season, his rising ADP makes perfect sense.
But, before we get too carried away, there are a few points to consider before anyone should contribute to this trend.
December 30th, 2012: Inside the Louisiana Superdome Mr. DeAngelo Williams went back to 2008 and broke out in a big way. After the first quarter he run all over the Saints. DeAngelo Williams scampered off runs of 65 and 22 yards, to go along with his 54 yard TD run. He also carried one in from the 12 yard line too. At the end of the day, DeAngelo Williams went good for 210 yards and 2 TDs.
Did it matter in fantasy? Of course not, it was Week 17. Did it matter for the Panthers or Saints? Not at all, it was a one and done, end of the year affair and the Panthers won 44-38, with the division rivals both finishing the season 7-9.
However, it did matter a lot for the DeAngelo’s final stat line. When you remove his Week 17 performance, which doesn’t count in fake football anyway, DeAngelo Williams was a huge bust. During the fake football season DeAngelo Williams went good for 537 yards, 3 TDs on the ground and 12 receptions, 134 yards receiving and 2 scores through the air.
The point, a significant amount of DeAngelo Williams’ production came from a single game against a defense that was arguably the worst run defense in the NFL. Furthermore, it was also in a game that was meaningless.
Red Zone Opportunities: The Black Cats had a few options inside the 20 and last season DeAngelo Williams only scored three times in the Red Zone. Instead, it was Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert leading the way with 7 scores a piece on the ground.
Now, in the interest of a balanced presentation of the facts, Tolbert scored 3 of those Red Zone TDs on December 30th, 2012, but if DeAngelo Williams is going to be carrying the load, you should expect Mike Tolbert to get the short yardage and goal line carries.
Cam Newton will also punch his fair share in and therefore, banking on DeAngelo Williams to suddenly approach double digit touchdowns isn’t wise. In fact, Jonathan Stewart only scored once last year from inside the Red Zone and there is likely to be little variation in the Panthers’ approach inside the 20.
So as it currently stands, DeAngelo Williams is climbing up draft boards into the 7th round, which is reasonable. If you like undersized, 30 year old, past their prime scat back types, who don’t project to score many touchdowns. But, it isn’t a reach either, given the opportunity he has landed in and his past success.
However, if DeAngelo Williams’ ADP continues to rise he’ll soon be drafted as a top 30 back and that just isn’t good value, but at least he doesn’t have to share carries with DeShaun Foster anymore.