The Chiefs announced Wednesday that Williams will opt out of the 2020 season.
Several players have already chosen to opt out of the 2020 season, but no player's decision to date has as significant fantasy implications as Williams'. With Williams slated to be unavailable this season, rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire is now on track to serve as the undisputed top running back in the Chiefs' high-powered offense.
Despite competing with Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, Williams expects to enjoy a breakout season in 2020, Nate Taylor of The Athletic reports.
Williams is 28 years old and entering the second season of a two-year, $5.1 million extension, while Edwards-Helaire is a 21-year-old first-round pick. The rookie may be the one with the significant investment behind him, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll enter Week 1 in the lead role. An abbreviated offseason program should work in favor of Williams, who already has two seasons of experience in Andy Reid's offense, highlighted by 540 total yards and 10 touchdowns in five playoff appearances. The workload division in KC's backfield figures to be one of the leading fantasy storylines throughout summer and into the fall.
Chiefs GM Brett Veach told Pro Football Talk that Williams will retain his spot atop the depth chart while sharing the backfield workload with Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Veach may be referring to training camp -- whenever that happens -- rather than making any promises for Week 1. After all, Veach may have referred to Williams as his starter, but the GM then referred to the rookie as a "franchise running back" and "special and unique." The Chiefs presumably will allow Williams and Edwards-Helaire to compete for touches, giving the first-round pick an opportunity to emerge as the lead back even if the veteran technically remains the starter. Given the immense potential for backfield fantasy production in an offense led by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, the breakdown between Williams and Edwards-Helaire is sure to be a heavily discussed topic throughout the summer and into fall.
Williams has a new competitor in the backfield following the Chiefs' selection of LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Adam Teicher of ESPN reports.
Edwards-Helaire's smaller frame (5-foot-7) and an unconventional offseason ahead for NFL teams could still position Williams to play a key contributing role for the Chiefs during the 2020 season. However, the first-round selection of a running back dims Williams' prospects of serving as the team's workhorse of the future, especially with his contract set to expire following 2020. In addition to rushing for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns on 215 carries (6.6 YPC), Edwards-Helaire reeled in 55 passes at LSU last season, so there's no part of Williams' game that Edwards-Helaire can't match or exceed if he proves he can hold up in pass protection.
With the Chiefs planning to pick up Williams' contract option, the running back is slated to earn $2.3 million in 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Over his past two campaigns with Kansas City, Williams combined for 161 carries for 754 yards, to go along with 53 catches for 373 yards and 13 total TDs through 27 games. The 27-year-old capped things last season by rushing 17 times for 104 yards and a TD while hauling in four passes for 29 yards and another score during the Chiefs' 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. As things stand, Williams continues to profile as the team's top backfield option, with the likes of Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and Elijah McGuire also currently in the mix.
Williams rushed 17 times for 104 yards and a touchdown and brought in four of eight targets for 29 yards and another score during the Chiefs' 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. He also fumbled once, but it was recovered by the offense.
Had it not been for Patrick Mahomes' spectacular second-half performance, Williams arguably had a rightful claim to MVP honors with his impressive performance in a stadium he once called his home field. The former Dolphin consistently fought successfully for yardage against a stingy 49ers defense, and he sealed the victory courtesy of a back-breaking 38-yard scoring scamper with 1:12 remaining in the contest. A drive earlier, Williams got into the end zone through the air, successfully getting the ball across the goal line just before his foot stepped out of bounds for a five-yard, go-ahead touchdown. Williams missed five games during the regular season due to injury, but he played a pivotal role in the postseason with six total scores (four rushing, two receiving). Williams enters the final year of his contract in 2020 and is on the books for $1.85 million, a highly reasonable figure for a lead back with his upside.
Williams carried 17 times for 45 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Titans. He also caught five passes for an additional 44 yards in the 35-24 win.
Williams struggled on the ground as he finished averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. He salvaged his day from a fantasy perspective with a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and rounded out his performance with an excellent showing as a receiver. Williams has totaled 157 scrimmage yards in two postseason performances, but he's scored four touchdowns and should be a focal point of the offense in the Super Bowl against either the 49ers or the Packers.
Williams ran for 47 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and caught two of six targets for 21 receiving yards and an additional TD during Sunday's 51-31 divisional-round win against Houston.
Williams' first score was the snowball that started the avalanche, as Kansas City went on to rack up an additional 35 unanswered points after he hauled in a 17-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes at the 9:55 mark of the second quarter. He was an effective red-zone rusher in addition to his contributions in the passing game, punching in five- and one-yard TD runs during the third quarter to help KC balloon its lead to 17 points before Houston finally broke its scoreless streak. Williams has now racked up 314 scrimmage yards and six total scores since Week 16, but he now draws an AFC Championship Game matchup against a Titans defense that held Baltimore RBs to just 42 combined rushing yards on nine carries Saturday.
Williams ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries during Sunday's 31-21 win over the Chargers. He added 30 yards on four receptions.
Williams extended Kansas City's lead to two scores midway through the third quarter when he kept his footing after an attempted group tackle, spun out, and raced down the sideline for a game-changing 84-yard touchdown. He struck again from seven yards out to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Williams has come out of the gate hot after missing several weeks with a rib injury, accounting for 246 total yards and three touchdowns in two games. The Chiefs get a bye next week and will play either the Patriots, Texans or Bills in the divisional round.
Williams rushed 16 times for 65 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 26-3 win over the Bears.
LeSean McCoy was a healthy scratch for this contest, leaving Williams as the unquestioned lead back in his return from a three-game injury layoff. The 27-year-old didn't appear to be limited by the ribs injury that kept him on the shelf, dominating the backfield touches with 19 and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Next week's opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers, are one of the toughest teams to throw on but can be beat on the ground (110.3 rushing yards allowed per game), making Williams a high-upside play given the matchup and his clear lead-back role.
Williams (rib) has been cleared to play in Sunday night's contest against the Bears, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reports.
Williams heads into the contest minus a Week 16 injury designation after practicing fully Friday. That removes the risk in terms of him being potentially being a Sunday night scratch, but it remains to be seen how much work he'll see in his first game action since Week 11. With that in mind, LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson -- who formed a Week 15 backfield timeshare -- are also in the mix, a context that makes Williams' volume Sunday difficult to project.
Williams (rib) remained limited at practice Thursday.
Back-to-back limited practices to start the week increase the chances that Williams could return to action Sunday night against the Bears. We'll circle back on his status Friday to see if the running back heads into the weekend listed as questionable, or minus a Week 16 injury designation.
Williams (rib) was limited at Wednesday's practice.
Williams last saw game action Nov. 18, but the fact that he's started the current week as a practice participant -- albeit a limited one -- suggests that there's a chance he could rejoin the Chiefs' backfield Sunday against the Bears. His absence in the Chiefs' Week 15 loss to the Broncos was also attributed in part to an illness, but the team's official injury report only lists Williams' sore left rib as a concern heading into the matchup with Chicago.
Williams (ribs/illness) will participate in Wednesday's practice, BJ Kissel of the Chiefs' official site reports.
It won't be known until after the session concludes whether Williams was a limited or full participant, but the fact that he's opening Week 16 on the practice field can be viewed as a positive. The 27-year-old looked to have just about moved past his rib injury in Week 15 after practicing Wednesday and Thursday, but an illness kept him sidelined Friday and ultimately caused him to miss a third consecutive game. Assuming Williams has recovered from both the rib injury and illness ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Bears, he could head a backfield committee that also includes LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware.
Williams (rib/illness) is inactive for Sunday's home game against the Broncos, BJ Kissel of the Chiefs' official site reports.
With Williams inactive for the third straight game, the Chiefs will roll with a backfield committee of LeSean McCoy - who led the team with 11 carries for 39 yards last weekend against the Patriots -- Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson. With a time-share in play, each back is in line to get some touches, but unless a hot hand emerges Sunday, neither of the trio possesses a bankable fantasy ceiling in Week 15 in wintry weather conditions in Kansas City.
Williams (rib/illness), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Broncos, is expected to be inactive for the contest, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Official word on Williams' status will come around 11:30 a.m. ET, when the Chiefs release their inactive list 90 minutes prior to kickoff. After missing the Chiefs' previous two games with sore ribs, Williams appeared to put himself on track to return this weekend after practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, but his hopes of playing took a hit when an illness prevented him from practicing Friday. With Williams likely to be sidelined for another game, the Chiefs will lean on a committee of LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson to handle the backfield snaps.
Williams (rib), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Broncos, missed practice Friday due to an illness, BJ Kissel of the Chiefs' official site reports.
Williams had been a limited participant in practices Wednesday and Thursday, so his downgrade in activity therefore can't be attributed to a setback with his rib issue, which cost him the previous two games. Even if Williams does suit up this weekend, it'll be difficult to predict what his Week 15 workload might look like with LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson also in the team's backfield mix. Added clarity on Williams' Week 15 status should arrive no later than Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET, when the Chiefs release their inactive list 90 minutes ahead of kickoff.
Williams (rib) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Broncos after not practicing Friday.
Though soreness on the left side of his rib cage prevented Williams from playing in the past two games and limited his participation in practices Wednesday and Thursday, it was an illness that kept him off the field Friday, per Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star. The missed opportunity to upgrade his activity level in practice will result in Williams carrying a designation into the weekend, making it difficult to project if he'll be ready to go once Sunday arrives. If Williams ends up sitting out or has his workload limited, LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson would form a three-headed backfield committee for Kansas City.
Williams (ribs) wasn't spotted at Friday's practice, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reports.
With that, Williams appears to be trending toward an inactive status Sunday against the Broncos. If that transpires, the Chiefs' Week 15 backfield would be headed by LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware, with Darwin Thompson also mixing in.
Williams (ribs) remained limited at practice Thursday.
We'll circle back on Williams' status Friday, but back-to-back practices -- albeit in a limited capacity -- give him a solid shot to rejoin the Chiefs' backfield Sunday against the Broncos. In such a scenario, he'd probably head a Week 15 committee that would also include LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware.
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