Head Coach Sean Payton has made establishing the Broncos' run game a priority in the 2023 season, and that strategy could bode well for fantasy football players looking to draft running back Javonte Williams.
In an article on Pro Football Focus, Williams led off a list of five fantasy football breakout candidates. After missing the final 13 games of 2022 season, Williams has returned to action this summer and recorded four receptions and three rushes in his preseason debut against the 49ers on Aug. 19.
From his clean bill of health to his stats prior to injury to the Broncos' experienced offensive coaches, Williams could reach new heights in the upcoming season.
"Williams has been excellent in his two seasons at making defenders miss," author Nathan Jahnke wrote. "His 3.8 avoided tackles per game while running over the last two seasons ranks fifth among running backs despite being in a committee nearly every game. … Similarly, his 1.25 avoided tacklers on receptions per game ranked sixth last season."
Jahnke also pointed to Payton's track record of using running backs in multiple ways as a promising sign for Williams' development.
"Williams could benefit significantly from a new coaching staff and an emphasis on the offensive line," Jahnke wrote. "… The Saints running backs were targeted 2276 times from 2006-2021, which was over 300 times more than any other team. … Williams could follow in the footsteps of several past Saints running backs, and finish among the top-five running backs if he is 100% after his injury."
Williams will be joined in the Denver backfield by free-agent acquisition Samaje Perine and undrafted free agent Jaleel McLaughlin, with each running back bringing unique elements to the running back group. If the elusive Williams can continue his growth in his third year, the results could be a big boost for the Broncos and for fantasy football teams with him on the roster.