Born into a family of track and field stars (both of his parents ran on track and his mother was recruited from UCLA by gold medal-winning Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee), Jameson Williams attended Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School where he excelled in football and – surprise! — Track. In fact, he won multiple state titles in the 300 meter hurdles and broke a state record previously held by Ezekiel Elliott in the process. Off the grid, Williams posted 1,062 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 36 receptions with three kickoff returns for scoring as a junior, then followed that up with 68 catches for 1,626 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior. .
He received his first college offer in 2017 (age 16) from Kentucky, followed by more than 15 major college programs. Listed as a 247Sports four-star prospect, Williams opted to attend Ohio State beginning in 2019. But for two years he was stuck on the depth board behind multiple receivers, including Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. While Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba would have to pass him on the depth chart to play in the slot, Williams opted to trade ahead of the 2021 season to Alabama. With the Tide, Williams immediately served as top receiver and was named a Biletnikoff Award finalist. His season ended in the worst possible way: tearing his left ACL in the national championship.
Williams told NFL Media in late March that he was “ahead of schedule” in his rehabilitation and hopes to be ready for training camp. He insisted he “will make sure everything is 100 before he comes back”.
Age at week 1: 21 | Height: 6-1 1/2 | Mass: 179 | 40 times: n / A
Body type comparable to: Will Fuller
We break down everything you need to know about Williams from a fantasy manager’s perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
And if you want to dive into the advanced analytics side of things, Sportsline’s Jacob Gibbs has you covered here.
Best Fantasy Adjustments
Kansas City Chiefs
Williams wouldn’t have to rush as the Chiefs have Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to hold down the fort as threats on the field. Once he acclimatizes he will have a good chance to thrive as Andy Reid has proven time and time again that he knows how to get guys to open up on the pitch. Plus, Patrick Mahomes has one of the best arms in the game. Williams’ highest ceiling could be achieved here.
Green Bay Packers
The idea of Williams catching deep balls from Aaron Rodgers is exciting. Leaving Valdes-Scantling doesn’t mean the Packers won’t be afraid to throw deep. With someone like Williams, they could do it more frequently. How long should the Packers wait for that to happen? And how long the Rodgers-Williams Green Bay connection would last, with Rodgers turning 39 in December. The duo would be fantastic as long as they stay together.
Los Angeles Chargers
It would be a luxury pick for the Chargers to get Williams, but he wouldn’t have to play right away and would end up making the Chargers passing game very difficult to defend. His deep-ball skills could give the Bolts more leeway on how to use Mike Williams. And the day Keenan Allen leaves the team (it could be as early as 2023 given his age and salary cap), the Chargers would have Williams there to take over. The Chargers are one of the most passing-laden teams in the league, and while they haven’t proven to be schematically effective with their receivers, they have one of the best quarterbacks around. Williams would become Justin Herbert’s go-to guy for a long time.
The next best fantasy is: Arizona, Jacksonville, Dallas, New Orleans, New England
Worst adjustments among teams needing WRs: NY Jets, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Detroit
Long-term Fantasy managers will essentially overlook Williams’ torn ACL and remain obsessed with his speed. However, because he’s not a complete receiver, there’s the potential for downside — perhaps more so than other top-tier wide players in the draft class. So much will depend on where Williams is drafted: If he’s stuck with a twisty quarterback or with a running violation, for the foreseeable future his advantage is hampered. If he lands on a terrific offense with a great quarterback or on a team that could go through a quarterback change in 2023, then he has a chance to be extra special for Fantasy. He’s a lock in the top 10 picks in the rookie-only drafts and could sneak into the top 3 if the draft goes a best-case scenario.
- Tall and slender construction. He could definitely be able to add bulk to his body without diminishing his features.
- Long, lanky arms with a wingspan of nearly 76 inches.
- Specialized in the wide lineup, but crossed formation and was used on the move.
- Deceived cornerbacks with effective footwork from the snap of the fingers. Well-practiced stutter steps, jump-and-kick steps, fake headers, and back cuts gave him the leverage he needed to gain space.
- Ran every route in the book but was consistently open to zone coverage because defenders feared his speed. It made money on the hills and outings, and of course was featured on the deep roads.
- Quarter-turn cuts in her routes were smooth thanks to loose hips.
- Legit deep ball game breaker with good acceleration and very good speed. Regularly passed cornerbacks. Feasted on bombs – 11 of his 15 touchdowns in 2021 were on passes traveling more than 15 Air Yards.
- Quickly gained space from zone coverage, then knew when to attack a cornerback’s blind spot and break his route.
- The speed also gave his teammates room to make plays — receivers were wide open at shorter distances for easy pick-ups and his quarterback often found enough room to run for first downs.
- Mastered subtle trait of waiting until the last second to move hands into position to catch a ball so as not to “tell” receivers when the ball is coming.
- Extended for off-target throws when needed, including a terrific handful of adjustments for low throws and bad shoulders.
- Consistently tracked his blockers on shorter and intermediate games for maximum wins.
- Wasn’t afraid of contact – was a willing fighter for footballs up close and actually leaned into tackles late in plays.
- Incredible, albeit quite inexperienced, kick-returner. Had two touchdowns on 10 returns averaging 35.2 yards. Also recorded a tackle as a shooter in the SEC title game. He told reporters that he asked to play on special teams.
- Only one year of dominant football – played behind numerous receivers at Ohio State (including Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave) before moving to Alabama.
- Torn his ACL in January in the national championship game. He believes he will be ready for training camp, but there are obvious potential injury risks. The ACL is the only documented injury he’s missed games with since high school.
- Lean build with slender legs.
- Although he wasn’t afraid of contact, he wasn’t a physical player and didn’t have much playing strength to break tackles regularly (although he tried). From time to time, I was manhandled when trying to block. Rarely used a stiff arm.
- Running has room for improvement. He rounded his cuts on deep, hollow posts. Struggled to give up tighter coverage on full returns to the quarterback, which led to incompletions. Coaching can help him improve his technique and nuance. Would love to see more double moves.
- Was inconsistent in judging deep passes. Sometimes carried it perfectly, sometimes slowed down unnecessarily. This could be a potential problem if he were to play with an inaccurate QB.
- Awareness is a question mark. Didn’t always listen to where his quarterback was and didn’t improvise find space to open up. Also went out of bounds while running down the sideline towards the end zone against New Mexico State.
- Only six drops out of 115 targets, but strangely a number of targets fell incomplete just beyond the reach of his hands. A handful of targets bounced off his hands, arms, or chest.
- Caught a number of deep passes on his hip or in his breadbasket. The fear is that these completions turn into reverse incompletes in the pros.
- Below average stroke blocking technique with generally negative results. Long arms rarely helped him lock onto defenders. Often couldn’t block for more than a second or two.
Breakdown of statistics
|2021 vs. Top 25||7||39||753||19.3||6|
Advanced Stats You Need to Know
- 12 missed tackles forced in 2021 (ranked 50th among qualifying receivers by Pro Football Focus)
- 3.14 yards per throw (ranked 12th among receivers with at least 50 catches)
- only four takes contested in 2021 (234th)
- 9.3 yards after catch per reception in 2021 (4th best in the nation)
- dropout rate: 7.1% (172nd)
- career average of 19.6 yards per catch
- caught 22 of 45 targets (49% catch rate) on passes over 15 Air Yards for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those plays accounted for 28% of his receptions, 62% of his yardage and 73% of his touchdowns in 2021.
- returned 10 kicks in 2021, averaging 35.2 yards per return
Williams is a game-changing space ball receiver who can be especially effective when organized. He also has room to improve physically and functionally. Thinking about his best features and height, I think a lot about Robby Anderson. That’s not a backhanded compliment — Anderson made his career catching long throws, but he didn’t have many (none?) great quarterbacks throwing at him. The same could end up happening to Williams, but he could also have a much better career statistically if he has a quarterback who can throw for him.