Mike Williams
Is Mike Williams a reliable fantasy option? Is it possible he can outperform Keenan Allen with Tyrod Taylor under center? (Darron Cummings, AP)

In my big 13 team auction league, my team has one weakness. I don’t have a reliable number two wide receiver. Deebo Samuel is hurt, Brandin Cooks is unreliable, and Diontae Johnson is unproven. Recently, I was able to pick up Mike Williams, but I may have the same issue. Can I count on Mike Williams to be a reliable fantasy option?

Let’s take a look at this from a surface level. The Chargers selected Williams seventh overall in 2017. For the most part, injuries are what has limited his ceiling thus far. Williams has suffered neck, back, knee, and shoulder issues now. However, when healthy, Williams has shown he’s pretty capable.

The former Clemson wide receiver brings elite size and physicality to the position. Williams checks in at 6-foot-4, 218. Williams is not the fastest guy in the world but has shown the ability to make big plays down the field. Of course, he’s always a red zone threat with that size too.

Last year, Williams ranked 2nd in the NFL in average depth of target (18.3) and third in the NFL in yards per target (11.8). Those are great numbers, especially when it comes to fantasy. One or two big plays a game can make your entire week.

Let’s do a blind resume:

Player A: (16 games): 113 targets, 16.1 aDOT, 10.5 yards per target, 14 end-zone targets

Player B: (15 games): 85 targets, 18.3 aDOT, 11.8 yards per target, 12 end-zone targets

Player B is Mike Williams, who, despite suffering from injuries, hauled in over 1,000 yards and 20.4 yards per catch to lead the league.

Player A is Kenny Golladay. Williams was Golladay except with fewer targets.

The other main difference is Williams only had two touchdowns in 2019. However, Williams had ten the year prior, so there’s no reason to think he can’t return to that level.

Tyrod Taylor is not an elite franchise quarterback by any means. However, he could be suited to fit what Williams does best. Tyrod is not someone who is going to kill you with timing throws to slice a defense. Quietly, Tyrod is willing to throw the deep ball.

In Week 1, Williams was questionable with a shoulder injury but found a way to play. Even on that note, he had more success than Keenan Allen.

Keenan Allen: 4-37-0 receiving on eight targets

Mike Williams: 4-69-0 receiving on nine targets

Keenan Allen is someone who could struggle with Tyrod. Allen relies on volume to kill you in the middle of the field. Tyrod won’t do that consistently. With Williams, you just throw it up. Anybody can do that, and it takes the pressure off Tyrod, who isn’t capable of carrying a high powered air attack. Williams is a safety blanket.

I have no idea how long Tyrod will be the quarterback, and we have no idea if Justin Herbert helps or hurts the offense. However, I’m optimistic that Williams can be a steady fantasy option. He might be a little touchdown-dependent, but it’s not like Williams can’t play. Injuries mostly have been his downfall.

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