Javonte Williams Is an Awkward Fantasy Football Fit on the Broncos for 2021

There is a lot to like about Williams as a prospect, but he joins a backfield that already has Melvin Gordon. What does that mean for his 2021 outlook?

The Denver Broncos took running back Javonte Williams with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft.

From a fantasy football perspective for 2021, there were certainly better landing spots out there for Williams since he's joining a backfield that contains Melvin Gordon. But sharing a backfield with another good back is nothing new for Williams, who split work with fellow draft class member Michael Carter at North Carolina.

Williams ran through tacklers at a prolific rate for UNC in 2020, breaking 76 tackles on 157 carries and finishing with the highest single-season broken tackle rate PFF has ever recorded. He racked up 1,140 rushing yards, 305 receiving yards and 22 total scores (19 rushing) in only 11 games last season and was PFF's highest-graded running back in the country.

What will Williams bring to Denver in 2021?

Player Comparisons

numberFire's JJ Zachariason and Jim Sannes break down Williams' profile, and JJ gives his top comparison.

Brandon Gdula's draft database has found these 10 prior prospects to have the most similar statistical profiles to Williams. Keep in mind that these are based not on play style or traits but age, athleticism, draft equity, experience, efficiency, and production.

Javonte Williams Profile Comparisons Similarity
JK Dobbins 90.1%
Miles Sanders 87.8%
Eddie Lacy 87.3%
Carlos Hyde 87.0%
Derrius Guice 86.6%
Christine Michael 86.2%
Nick Chubb 85.3%
Ben Tate 85.2%
TJ Yeldon 84.8%
Sony Michel 83.6%

Gdula's Take: Williams rose in 2020 and led the nation in missed tackles forced, according to PFF, and ranked second in rushes of 15-plus yards despite running behind the 80th-ranked run-blocking line. He ranks in the 60th percentile in receiving share at the position in my database, as well.

Williams' 2021 Fantasy Football Projection

Zachariason's initial projections for Williams include 828 rushing yards and 6.2 scores plus another 191 yards and 0.8 tuds as a receiver, making him the PPR RB29 over the 17-game season.

The battle between he and Gordon for lead-back status will be a key fantasy storyline to watch heading into 2021.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Broncos are listed at +1700 to win the Super Bowl. They were +5500 on Thursday, indicating there is a possible headline-making move in the works for a quarterback. If Denver makes a significant upgrade under center, it would boost the fantasy outlook for everyone on the offense.