Aug 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Andre Williams (44) runs by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) during second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football Sleeper: Andre Williams

Fantasy Football Sleeper:

This season when you’re looking at the Giants roster, one name in particular pops out as a Fantasy Football Sleeper… that name is Andre Williams. The former 2,177 yard back from Boston College is in a unique position with the New York Giants.

Earlier this month, the Giants former first round pick — David Wilson — announced his retirement from the NFL. If you are reading this news for the first time. Here are three stories to get you caught up:

  1. Another Giant Down: NYG David Wilson Suffers “Burner”
  2. David Wilson: The Heart of an NFL Champion
  3. David Wilson: Training for 2016 Olympics

What a sequence of events… at GMEN HQ, we wish David Wilson the best on his quest to go from NFL athlete to Olympian. That said, the departure of Wilson opens up an opportunity for Andre Williams to make an immediate impact in the National Football League. And — that could mean big time Fantasy Football Sleeper.

Often times, rookie running back’s don’t fair really well year one. However, that’s not 100% every year. Just since 2010, here are four young backs that did well their rookie NFL season:

  1. 2013 – Eddie Lacy – 1,178 yards
  2. 2012 – Doug Martin – 1,454 yards
  3. 2012 – Alfred Morris – 1,613 yards
  4. 2010 – LeGarrette Blount – 1,007 yards

Keeping those numbers in mind, it’s easy to envision Andre Williams as a Fantasy Football Sleeper. It’s true, the Giant do have Rashad Jennings and he has looked quite formidable at times in the four preseason games the team has played thus far. However, understand Rashad Jennings has never attempted more than 163 carries in a season. In fact, last year with the Raiders was the most productive year of his career and he topped off at 733 yards on said attempts.

Fantasy Football Sleeper…

Andre Williams, on the other hand is only 21 years old… until tomorrow, then he’ll be 22 years old (Happy Birthday, Andre Williams from GMEN HQ).  The point is, after 704 college rushing attempts, this 5’11” – 230 lb – “GIANT-TANK” is fresh and ready for the challenges of the brutal NFL season.
 
After compiling 3,799 YScrm and scoring 28 touchdowns it’s obvious that Andre Williams is capable of being a football weapon. The question is whether or not he can do it an NFL level. The answer may depend on Andre Williams’ 9″ hands. His NFL Draft profile says:

BOTTOM LINE Very strong, stocky, powerful runner with the instincts, contact balance and toughness to carry a heavy workload. Really emerged as a senior, when he led the nation in rushing, and proved worthy of a starting role. Limitations in the receiving game could diminish his value.

Lack of receptions did reduce Williams’ overall worth.

Why?

At Boston College, Andre Williams was not asked to catch the ball much. He only had ten receptions for 60 yards in his entire career, in the West Coast Offense, that’s one game’s worth of production for a running back in some cases. Not the most impressive resume stat for NFL offenses.

For the G-Men, while the running back would pound the ball in Kevin Gilbride’s old system, this isn’t the run and shoot anymore. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo brings with him the WCO, which means on almost any given play the Giants (in Bill Walsh design theory) will send five eligible receivers on timing based routes to a certain zone on the gridiron. The idea is for Eli Manning to hit them in stride running through his five designed progressions.

If Andre Williams comes on the field, teams may automatically assume “running play” — if he’s not on, teams will know the pass is coming. It’s a dead give away in the West Coast Offense, which uses many RB motions and a variety of shifting receiver sets to try and throw off the defense. For this reason, Andre Williams must learn not only how to catch, but how to pass protect and run NFL quality routes against the best and fastest defenders on the planet today.
 
It will be no easy task for the rookie. Understand, this isn’t the same as Brandon Jacobs coming in and simply pounding the ball, Williams is shorter and has quick cutting ability in smooth short-area-burst. In more reasonable words, he’s a Fantasy Football Sleeper.
 
If Andre Williams can improve his all around game and grow some dependable NFL hands, the young kid from Boston College could potentially have a GIANT season.
 
However, be aware the New York Giants are unsettled at offensive line, but that Andre Williams has the potential move the chains regardless.
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