Mike Williams' 2011 Fantasy Preview: Is Tampa Bay's Man-Child Ready for Stardom?

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIMay 16, 2011

2010 Review

Quick trivia question:  Before Mike Williams did it in 2010, who was the last wide receiver to put up double-digit TDs his rookie season?

Answer:  Randy Moss in 1998, when he hauled in a whopping 17 touchdown receptions for the Minnesota Vikings.

One more trivia question:  Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, how many rookie receivers have caught 10 or more touchdowns their first pro season?

Answer:  Five.  Mike Williams (TB), 2010, 11 TDs; Randy Moss (Min), 1998, 17 TDs; Daryl Turner (Sea), 1984, 10 TDs; John Jefferson (SD), 1978, 13 TDs; Sammy White (Min), 1976, 10 TDs.

Rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski also grabbed 10 TD receptions for the Patriots last season, making him the lone TE to do so in the modern era, but that’s a discussion for a different time.

Now by no means am I saying Williams is about to become the next Randy Moss—or even the next John Jefferson for that matter—but the numbers that this raw, yet clearly gifted rookie receiver put together last season were pretty darn impressive.  If Williams can avoid the same implosion that affected his college run at Syracuse, last year could end up being the start of a red-letter career.

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft, there were very few questions concerning Williams’ overall skill-set.  However, when it comes to multi-million dollar investments, ability can only get you so far.

Team scouts, coaches and executives alike would find Williams’ personal life to be so completely riddled with red flags that as many as 20 NFL teams (and likely more) removed the high-level prospect from their draft boards altogether. 

When all was said and done, the former first-round talent would slip all the way to the fourth round, where Tampa Bay finally took a chance on the unrefined and possibly misunderstood youngster.

Instead of complaining and/or holding out like others have in the past (Mr. Crabtree, your table is ready), Williams decided it best to prove his worth on the field.

And prove himself he did.

Mike started his rookie campaign off strong, scoring the Buccaneers' first touchdown of the year while crossing the goal line three times during the team’s first four games.  Likewise, Williams would enjoy a formidable finish to the season by nabbing four TDs in the Bucs' final three regular season games.

First-year players tend to slow down towards the end of the season, but Williams didn’t, and while he would put up just one 100-yard performance in 2010, it was his season-ending push that allowed him to reach the rare feat of 10-plus TDs for a rookie.

Not even Hall of Famers Lance Alworth, Fred Biletnikoff, Lynn Swann, Michael Irvin, or even the mighty Jerry Rice (just to name a few) can lay claim to such an accomplishment.

Mike Williams’ final numbers of 64 catches, 955 yards and 11 TDs, with a ranking of eleventh on the WR fantasy points list, is just the beginning.

With a young, promising quarterback in Josh Freeman running the show, along with a slew of other talented studs like LeGarrette Blount, Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow Jr. surrounding him, you can bet that as soon as this upcoming season, 31 other teams in the league will be wishing they hadn’t misjudged him.

Don’t be like them.  Take him as a high-end WR2 in your fantasy draft this season and you won’t end up with your ass in a sling.

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2011 Pros & Cons

(+) QB Josh Freeman is legit, and Williams is by far and away his favorite target

(+) Williams is a big WR standing 6'2”, 212 pounds, which gives him an advantage over most every cornerback in the league

(+) He's an athletic phenomenon who can pretty much do whatever is asked of him

(+) Catches balls in traffic and doesn’t mind using his body to go over the middle

(+) Has a knack for the spectacular; made some of the most insane catches in the entire league last season

(+) Williams definitely has a chip on his shoulder after dropping to the fourth round in the 2010 draft (101st overall)

(+) Though he was known for quitting his Syracuse team as a junior in college, he turned those views around last season bringing the Bucs to within an inch of the playoffs by scoring four TDs in the last three weeks

(–) Still has some off-the-field maturity issues to deal with, as shown by his DUI arrest in Week 11 last season (however, charges were never pursued as the State Attorney’s office had no case)

(–) Doesn’t play in what you would call a "high-octane offense"


For the rest of Mike Williams' Player Profile, CLICK HERE

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