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Why Tyrell Williams Can Be a Starting Fantasy WR in 2019


Unexpected productivity from a late-round wide receiver in your fantasy drafts can help to pave your way to a championship. Scouting out these diamonds in the rough before your pick is on the clock often involves subverting the negative consensus expectations for a player.

Newly acquired Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams isn't getting much attention from the fantasy community, with his average draft position in 12-team standard leagues being pick 12.09. However, as the unquestioned second wide receiver on his team with plenty of opportunities to push for targets, Williams is a pass-catcher to pay attention to.

Let's take a deeper dive into Williams' potential and why he could produce WR3 numbers for your fantasy team.

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The Raiders Offense Has Plenty of Vacated Targets

There might be no receiving corps that was overhauled as much as the Oakland Raiders this past offseason. Out are Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts; in are Antonio Brown, Williams, J.J. Nelson, and Ryan Grant. Furthermore, the team's leader in targets from 2018, tight end Jared Cook, departed for the New Orleans Saints in free agency. All of these moves leave 264 vacated targets up in the air.

Of course, Brown is the early favorite to command the majority of the team's looks, as he should be. Assuming the former Pittsburgh Steeler receives somewhere in the 155 to 170 range for targets, Williams becomes the clear next man up to receive passes from quarterback Derek Carr and should have the volume to support WR3 productivity.

Williams' Skill Set Creates Mismatches

As a 6'4, 205 lb receiver with 4.40 speed, Williams is a big-play threat on every down. As noted by Pro Football Focus, the former Chargers wide receiver has accumulated the fourth-most receiving yards on deep throws for any pass-catcher over the last two seasons. Fantasy owners should definitely take note of Williams' 16.3 yards per catch over his career and think about his potential in the 12th round of drafts.

Although Derek Carr isn't the model of consistency for throwing the deep ball, his size and large catch radius could remind him of the teams leading receiver in 2018 in Cook. The two will likely have immediate chemistry on deep crossing routes and won't take long to produce several splash plays.

Worst-Case for Oakland=Best-Case for Williams

Even if Williams' status as a WR3 is still shaky for some fantasy owners, the drama in Oakland over whether No. 1 wideout Antonio Brown will be retiring seems to change on a daily basis. This is unlikely to be the last time we here about Brown's and his helmet, as this could be an issue that resurfaces at any point. Then there are the cryogenically frozen feet...

If Brown should miss any time during the regular season, we have seen what Williams could do when his team's lead receiver is out. In 2016 when Keenan Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, Williams stepped up to the tune of 69 receptions, 1,059 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns.

Fantasy owners should carefully monitor the situation in Oakland. If the drama surrounding Brown starts up again, Williams should be elevated in most peoples expectations.

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