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Detroit Lions

Jamaal Williams could be ready to shoulder the load at RB

The Lions say D’Andre Swift is day-to-day with a sprained shoulder. That will make Jamaal Williams one of the coveted items on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues next week.

Williams is a solid back – a veteran who runs hard and knows what he’s doing. There have been a few times this year where I’ve wondered why he hasn’t been playing more.

Not that Swift isn’t really good, and the youngster has been coming on recently, with long touchdown runs against the Browns and Steelers. Williams can’t do that. But Williams has played well enough when he’s been on the field that I would think there might not be a huge dropoff if Swift were to sit one out. And if Swift plays next week, he’ll likely be less than 100 percent, with Williams playing more than usual.

Williams this year has averaged 4.2 yards per carry, compared to just 4.0 for Swift. There have been eight games this year where one of these backs has averaged over 4.0 yards per carry, and Williams has 5 of them.

And while Williams isn’t as dynamic in the passing game, he’s been more steady. He’s caught 21 of the 23 passes thrown his way. Swift has caught 56 of the 70 balls thrown to him – more catches and more yards-per-catch, but with a much lower completion rate.

Overall, Williams has been on the field for 211 offensive plays this year, and he’s generated 505 run-rec yards on those plays, an average of 2.4 per play. Swift has generated 984 yards on his 492 plays. That’s 2.0 per play (almost a half yard per play less).

I’m not suggesting Williams will be or should be starting ahead of Swift, but if they go with him for a game or two, I think his production should be solid. The Lions have been relying heavily on the run recently. They ran for only 76 yards against Chicago and 57 yards against the Eagles, but their last three other games have been their three best of the season, with 137, 229 and 168 yards against the Rams, Steelers and Browns.

They’ve got the Vikings next week.

DETROIT RUNNING BACKS BY YARDS PER CARRY
PlayerOppResultAttYdsAvgTDReceiving
Swiftat Clev.L 10-13141369.713-0-0
WilliamsS.F.L 33-419546.018-56-0
Williamsat LARL 19-2812574.800-0-0
Williamsat Chi.L 14-2414664.700-0-0
Swiftat Min.L 17-1911514.616-53-0
Swiftat G.B.L 17-358374.604-41-0
Williamsat Min.L 17-1913574.402-8-0
WilliamsChi.L 14-1615654.305-18-0
Swiftat Pitt.T 16-16331303.903-5-0
Swiftat LARL 19-2813483.708-96-1
Williamsat G.B.L 17-357253.603-12-0
SwiftS.F.L 33-4111393.608-65-1
WilliamsBalt.L 17-1912423.512-25-0
SwiftBalt.L 17-1914473.417-60-0
WilliamsCin.L 11-344112.801-(-2)-0
SwiftPhil.L 6-4412272.305-24-0
Swiftat Chi.L 14-248162.004-33-0
SwiftCin.L 11-3413241.915-43-0
Williamsat Clev.L 10-137111.600-0-0
SwiftChi.L 14-1630.003-9-0
Williamsat Pitt.T 16-16----------
WilliamsPhil.L 6-44----------

—Ian Allan

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