The Denver Broncos are playing some solid football as of late, as they have defeated the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs in recent weeks.
However, it was a tough start to the year for Javonte Williams, who just hadn’t resembled the running back he’d been before his 2022 ACL tear. The speed and explosiveness were lacking early, but he has shown signs of breaking out as the season has progressed.
With Williams seemingly rounding back into form, should fantasy football managers be looking to trade for him or trade him away?
Javonte Williams Fantasy Value: How Should Managers Approach Broncos RB?
For the Broncos and their fans, seeing Williams resemble the rookie version of himself is cause for excitement. It isn’t a coincidence that in his best two games of the year, Denver knocked off two teams that were preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl.
In Weeks 8 and 10, he posted 98 and 110 total yards of offense against the Chiefs and Bills, respectively, while scoring a receiving touchdown in each game. And that two-game sample was preceded by a 15-carry, 82-yard effort vs. the Green Bay Packers in Week 7.
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In the Week 11 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Williams gained 53 yards on 13 touches, but the drop in production came against a Minnesota defense that’s shown consistent improvement as the season has gone on. Additionally, Jaleel McLaughlin and Samaje Perine took away 12 targets and two carries from the starting RB.
While it is good to see Williams playing so well, now is not the time to get aggressive trading for Williams. First, the schedule for the Broncos is going to be tough, especially in the next two weeks against the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans.
Both of these two teams look like playoff contenders, but the matchup against the Browns could be especially difficult. The Browns have perhaps the best defense in the NFL. Cleveland is ranked seventh against the run (91.7 yards per game allowed) and first against the pass (151.1 yards per game allowed).
It is getting to the point where it is almost hard to play your skill players against the Browns. If you take out the 74-yard touchdown run by Jaylen Warren on Sunday, Cleveland allowed only 175 total yards of offense to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Denver will be at a significant disadvantage on this side of the ball.
Another reason why you should stay away from Williams is that while he is playing much better, he went into Sunday night’s game averaging only 3.4 yards per carry. Part of the reason for his elevated opportunity in Weeks 9 and 10 was the result of the game script.
Entering those two games, the Broncos had forced only seven turnovers, which was near the bottom of the league. However, Denver’s defense forced five turnovers against the Chiefs and then four more against the Bills. That afforded leads that allowed them to focus on the ground game to ice those victories and keep their opponents’ dangerous offenses off the field.
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Naturally, that scenario isn’t going to replicate itself often, which could lead to more limited opportunities for Williams.
Yes, Williams is playing some solid football, but he still isn’t quite to the point where I am sending the house to acquire him. The efficiency is still mixed and we are seeing far too much of Perine and McLaughlin in the passing game to be comfortable with. That limits Williams’ ceiling enough that you should lowball any offer to try and acquire him right now.
If you have Williams on your roster, then any swap you can make to acquire a consistent, starting-level option should be in consideration. With the playoffs around the corner, trading him is even more worthwhile — especially if you need big performances over the next two weeks.
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!
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