Friday, August 28, 2009

8/28 Bust of the Day: DeAngelo Williams


Can the unquestioned 2008 Fantasy MVP possibly be a bust in 2009? Depends on how you define bust ...

In my eyes, a bust is any player who doesn't live up to common expectations set for him, and by that criteria, Williams is bound to be one. The man scored 20 total TDs last year, after being an afterthought in most drafts and no better than a third RB on most teams to start the year. This season, he'll cost you a small fortune in an auction or a first-round pick in a regular draft. And if you're paying that kind of price, you're expecting Williams to come close to last year's numbers.

But can he? Remember, Williams' stats were padded just a bit by two 4-TD games last year, plus two games in which he rushed for more than 170 yards. He also cracked the 100-yard mark only once in his first seven games last year - which makes his second-half production that much more remarkable.

The problem with Williams is his backup, Jonathan Stewart, who is better-suited for goal-line duty and who will be part of a clear timeshare as soon as his nagging Achilles' injury heals. The Panthers should again boast the most run-heavy offense in the league, which means there will be plenty of carries for both Williams and Stewart. But frankly, I feel like Williams got a little lucky last year, and I believe his stats are bound to level off a little bit as Stewart takes on more respnosibility. I wouldn't be shocked to see Williams' TD total get cut in half this year and his yardage total dip down toward the 1,200- to 1,300-yard range. Those are impressive numbers, no doubt, but there are several other backs capable of duplicating them while not surrendering that many carries to a backup.

I penciled in Williams at No. 8 on my RB rankings, which makes him a late first-round/early second-round choice. Taking him any higher may leave you a bit disappointed if he's simply good and not great in 2009.

Photo by The Associated Press

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