For USC Williams, I'd say he's come back from the dead, but he was never really alive in a fantasy sense. Someone needs to create a “a very special” Lifetime movie detailing his return to the NFL. Apparently he was watching a program counting down the 10 biggest draft busts of all time. He was terrified that his name would be next, but never popped up. Apparently that (and a little Pete Carroll TLC) was all he needed.
'Cuse Williams was suspended from his college team in 2008 for cheating and quit the team in 2009 after some issues with curfew. Like Vinnie Chase dating a porn star, this could only end badly.
It’s not clear what forced the change in ‘Cuse Williams, but his ascendancy to fantasy football darling has been no less miraculous. The question is whether the Williams duo can become the next Steve Smiths? Let's examine their situations to see if their rise will continue or if this is merely a mirage that will fade like Lindsey Lohan's sobriety.
USC Williams came into the league at the end of a truly putrid stretch of draft choices by the Lions GM Matt Millen. Not only did he take receivers in three consecutive drafts (Charles Rogers, Roy E. Williams, and Mike Williams), but he whiffed on all of them. Like Charles Rogers before him, he became a fantasy punch line and left football before he could even legally rent a car.
Sadly (as a Niner fan) I watched the entire 49ers vs. Seahawks game and he looked every bit the No. 1 receiver he was supposed to be. He ran crisp routes and burned the Niners’ defensive backs on multiple plays. Yes, the Niners were putrid, but he obviously has the trust of Matt Hasselbeck and put up good numbers (six targets and four catches for 64 yards).
It looks like we called the coroner a little quick for Hasselbeck’s career. When healthy he is a guy that can always hit the open receiver. Assuming a healthy season for both, they have the seeds of a rapport that should only expand during the season.
'Cuse Williams’ rap sheet is far more impressive than his college statistics. He was suspended for a year for cheating on a test and then suspended for violating curfew, but instead of serving it he quit.
It’s not hard to see why this first round talent dropped to the fourth round. Apparently getting paid to play has rectified his bad attitude. During Week 1 he received nine targets, which he turned into four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. The yardage is a bit low, but you have to like the nine targets.
He looks like the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Tampa, but unfortunately there isn't much to take the pressure off of him. Cadillac Williams and Kellen Winslow are nice players, but both are injury prone and all three have the “immortal” Josh Freeman trying to get them the ball. Not a fantasy owner's dream, but it looks like he’ll receive a lot of targets and have his opportunity to shine on a bad team that will need to throw the ball.
If I’m picking between the two, I’m going with USC Williams, because he has the better QB, better offensive supporting cast, and he’s on a team that just shredded the trendy “it” team. That being said, USC Williams does have the taint of being effectively kicked out of the league because he wasn't good enough and that doubt could always creep back into his mind. Still the fact that he made it back to the NFL after being out for a few years says a lot about the man he has become.
‘Cuse Williams doesn’t have that potential doubt to worry about, but he does have to worry about trying to catch Josh Freeman’s wounded ducks.
We’ll have to wait till season's end to see if they become the Steve Smiths 2.0 or if they are relegated to the fantasy flame-out graveyard.
Written exclusively by Chris Summers for www.thefantasyfix.com. Chris is an attorney, who lives and breathes sports in sunny California. Look for more of his great insight weekly.
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