Sat Sep 18 4:00pm ET
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) celebrates his touchdown run with Jason Cabinda (45) in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams addresses the prospect of facing his former team with the candor and humor that made him such a popular figure throughout his four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Williams rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 19 touchdowns during his Green Bay tenure . Williams returns to Green Bay on Monday night to face his former team for the first time.
''Shoot, if I could've stayed, I could've stayed,'' Williams said this week. ''If I can't, they didn't want me like that ex-girlfriend, shoot, I've got to go. But good thing is I got a rebound, it was the Lions, they picked me up. Now they're feeding me good, taking me to dinners, you know what I mean? Another man's trash is another man's treasure.''
Williams was one of two running backs the Packers selected in the 2017 draft. Green Bay picked Williams in the fourth round out of BYU and then took UTEP's Aaron Jones in the fifth round.
Jones and Williams both were set to become free agents after the 2020 season. When the Packers selected running back A.J. Dillon out of Boston College in the second round of the 2020 draft, it became apparent they weren't going to sign both Williams and Jones to long-term deals.
While Williams rushed for at least 460 yards in each of his four seasons with the Packers, including 505 yards last year, Jones developed into a Pro Bowl performer. The Packers signed Jones to a four-year, $48 million contract, clearing the way for Williams' departure.
''I'm just having fun, man,'' Williams said. ''It's part of life. You're going to have those type of rejections, you're going to get turned down, people ain't going to want you. But when you get your shot and your opportunity again from somebody who will give you your shot, you've just got to take that opportunity, be grateful for it and make it count.''
Jones and Williams remain good friends. Jones said he speaks with Williams every week and that they've even communicated this week as they prepare for Monday's game.
''He's like my brother,'' Jones said. ''We became brothers over that time. He's been there for me through a lot and just helped me develop as a player, helped me develop my game and pushed me. That's something we would do every time we stepped on the field is try to push each other.''
Williams' other former teammates say they're looking forward to seeing the guy who would show off his dance moves in practice and showcase his versatility each Sunday for the last four seasons.
''I have a lot of love and affection for Jamaal,''' Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. ''He's such a special, special guy. Adds so much to the locker room, so much energy to game day. One of those guys, there's a gaping hole in certain areas when you lose a guy like that. You can't just fill it up with one person - his magnanimous personality.''
He's continued showing that personality in Detroit. When two reporters tried asking him something at the same time during a preseason news conference, Williams even talked them into playing a game of rock-paper-scissors to determine which questioner went first.
Williams also has made an impact on the field.
In his Lions debut, Williams ran for 54 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and caught eight passes for 56 yards in the a 41-33 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Williams formed a quality tandem with D'Andre Swift, who had 11 carries for 39 yards plus eight receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.
''He's exactly what I thought he would be and the vision of what he would be,'' Lions coach Dan Campbell said. ''And that, man, there's true value in that because he was as steady and reliable as a guy you can have. He looked exactly like he did in camp, he ran hard, he was high energy, he played smart, and he helped move the football for us.''
Williams now will try to bring that energy to Green Bay from the opposing sideline. And if he finds the end zone again, will he attempt a Lambeau leap as a visiting player?
''I might, honestly,'' Williams said. ''I might just jump into some Lions fans.''
NOTES: Lions WR Tyrell Williams (concussion), Lions DE Kevin Strong (concussion) and Packers S Vernon Scott (hamstring) have been ruled out for Monday's game. Packers TE Josiah Deguara (concussion) is doubtful. Swift (groin), Lions DE Michael Brockers (shoulder), Lions OLB Trey Flowers (shoulder), Lions WR Kalif Raymond (thigh), Packers G Lucas Patrick (concussion) and Packers S Darnell Savage (shoulder) are questionable.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden could be in line for a bigger workload heading into the Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable to suit up in this game. That means, Bolden and a committee of others could see increased roles. Last week, Bolden rushed the ball twice, but also hauled in four receptions through the air. No one should compare Bolden to James White, but it seems New England wants Bolden to be their receiving back. There isn't a ton of upside here and Bolden should be considered a low-end streaming option in PPR formats.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson finally was able to get into some action last week. Coming into Week 5, Stevenson had one carry on the season, but that changed versus Texans. Sadly, there wasn't much success as Stevenson carried the ball 11 times for 23 yards in the win. Lead back Damien Harris (ribs) is questionable heading into their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. That means, Stevenson could be asked to carry the ball 10 or so times again. There isn't much upside here with Stevenson, so he should be considered a desperation deep league option. He wasn't able to move the ball versus Houston, so that's unlikely to change this week.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has failed to impress over the first five games of the season. He has posted one multi-touchdown game, but has only surpassed the 280-yard mark once through five contests. The rookie quarterback will now head into a tough matchup against the Dallas Cowboys defense. Normally, the Cowboys defense wouldn't be intimidating, but they rank ninth in pass DVOA so far in 2021. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jones struggle to move the ball in this one. He'll be a desperation streaming option, but should be avoided in most formats.
Cleveland Browns running back Demetric Felton could have an expanded role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (wrist, knee) is questionable with a knee/wrist injury. Felton will have a complementary role and should see an uptick in carries along with D'Ernest Johnson as the backups to Hunt. The 23-year-old logged three snaps on offense and returned two punts for 17 yards in Sunday's Week 47-42 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Felton and Johnson could see additional touches in Week 6. The UCLA product is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson could have a vital role in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Browns star RB Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game, and RB Kareem Hunt (knee, wrist) is questionable with a wrist/knee injury. Johnson will have a complementary role on Sunday and is the only other running back on the Browns to see carries this season besides Hunt and Chubb. While Hunt is expected to suit up, the Browns have a game scheduled for Thursday next week; Johnson, along with Demetric Felton, could see additional touches in Week 6. The 25-year-old is worth stashing in deep-league formats while Chubb is sidelined and Hunt is banged up.
The Miami Dolphins elevated WRs Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merritt from their practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Oct. 16, for Week 6's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb will try to bounce back in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears after reeling in 2-of-3 targets for 30 yards in Sunday's 25-22 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year-old averages 10.6 air yards per target and owns 9% of the team's target share, ranked 92nd among all wideouts. Cobb will continue to have an expanded role while Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) remains on the injured reserve. This season, the Bears have been obliterated by WR1s (30th in DVOA) but have been solid against the opposing team's WR2s, which ranks 10th in DVOA versus the opponent's secondary receiver. Cobb is considered a flex play in deep-league formats and is a dart throw at best in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers' tight end Robert Tonyan (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go in Week 6. The 27-year-old has caught just 9-of-17 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown over five games in 2021. He averages 8.9 air yards per target (9th in position rank) and 10% of the team's target share, 26th among all tight ends. The Bears are ranked ninth in DVOA against tight ends this year, and a bounce-back week for Tonyan most likely won't happen this Sunday. Fantasy managers can search the waiver wire for a streaming tight end as Tonyan is a mid-range TE2 at best in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (ankle) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week but is all systems go for Week 6. The 26-year-old has rushed for 309 yards on 70 attempts and two touchdowns while catching 17-of-19 targets for 132 yards and three scores over five games in 2021. The Bears have been tough against the run this season and rank fourth in rush DVOA. Despite the tough matchup, Jones is a low-end RB1, and fantasy managers can start the Packers running back with confidence in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is coming off his best game of the season in last Sunday's Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He hauled in 11-of-16 targets for 206 yards and a touchdown. The Packers star receiver gets the Chicago Bears in Week 6, has been dreadful against WR1s, and is ranked 30th against the opposing team's top targets. Adams has dominated the Bears in the past, reeling in 67 catches for 814 yards and eight touchdowns over 14 games against Chicago in his career. The 28-year-old should have success again versus the Bears, and a is a surefire WR1 in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown exactly two touchdowns in three straight games and is coming off his first 300-yard effort in last Sunday's Week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The future Hall of Famer gets divisional rival the Chicago Bears in Week 6. Chicago has allowed the fifth-fewest points to quarterbacks and ranks third in pass DVOA this season. Rodgers has completed 107-of-163 attempts for 1,241 passing yards and a 10:3 TD: INT ratio while rushing for eight yards on seven attempts and a score over five games in 2021. The 37-year-old has typically done well against the Bears and has a passing rating of 107.2 with 55 touchdowns over 25 games versus Chicago in his career. Fantasy managers can fire up Rodgers as a low-end QB1 in Week 6.
The Denver Broncos defensive line should have the advantage in Week 6 against a Las Vegas Raiders offensive line that ranks 20th in pressure rate allowed and 31st in yards per carry. The key will be limiting big plays in the passing game, as they've allowed seven completions of 30-plus yards this year, which is tied for seventh-most in the league. Kyle Fuller has struggled in one-on-one matchups, but the return of Ronald Darby from Injured Reserve should help this secondary. If Denver can keep Derek Carr from succeeding deep -- only four QBs have completed more 30-plus-yard passes than him -- they have a shot to really slow Vegas' offense down. The Broncos defense has allowed the second-fewest points (76) through five weeks and should have a solid fantasy week if they can get consistent pressure on Carr.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus will be looking to stay perfect in a big matchup against the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders in Week 6. McManus has made all 11 of his field-goal attempts and all nine of his extra-point tries through five weeks to rank him as the No. 8 fantasy kicker. The move from Drew Lock in 2020 to Teddy Bridgewater at QB this year has made a world of difference for Denver's offense in terms of efficiency and lack of turnovers. In turn, McManus has become fantasy relevant on a weekly basis, and it also has helped that Denver ranks 10th in red-zone attempts but just 29th in red-zone success rate. The Broncos have scored touchdowns on just 42.11% of their trips inside the 20-yard line, which means McManus should continue to get his chances this Sunday. He'll easily be a top-10 fantasy kicker in Week 6.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant had just three catches for 20 yards and wasn't targeted until the fourth quarter in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The reason? His lack of involvement was a direct result of the team's decision to slow down Pittsburgh's edge rushers. The Las Vegas Raiders have some impressive pass-rushers of their own, but look for the Broncos to get Fant more involved in the passing game in Week 6. The 23-year-old remains one of Denver's top targets with Jerry Jeudy still out with a high ankle sprain, and the Raiders defense has been generous to opposing tight ends the last three weeks, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game. At the weakest fantasy position, Fant will remain a midrange TE1 with a prime bounce-back opportunity this Sunday.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick hasn't put up gaudy numbers or done anything overly special with Jerry Jeudy sidelined by a high ankle sprain, but he is quietly one of the NFL's best receivers. Through five weeks, Patrick leads the NFL by a wide margin with a plus-15.8% catch rate over expected. Oh, and he also hasn't dropped a pass in 127 targets since the 2019 season. He's gradually seen an increase in targets as the season has progressed, and he had a season-high seven catches on nine targets for 89 yards in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But because he's not much of a big-play receiver in a middling offense, Patrick has been merely a WR4/flex option in fantasy with Jeudy out. There won't be a ton of upside in Week 6 against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the receiver position this year.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton woke up in the Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching seven of his 11 targets for 120 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Aside from his two 100-yard games, though, Sutton has been pretty quiet despite ranking second behind Davante Adams with 644 air yards in 2021. The 26-year-old was also helped by the fact that Denver was forced to throw while being down multiple scores in the second half last Sunday. The targets will be there for Denver's top option in the passing game, but Sutton will also be facing a Las Vegas Raiders defense in Week 6 that has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game (9.0) to opposing pass-catchers in the last three weeks. He'll be a midrange WR2 for fantasy managers against the division rivals.
Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams seems to waiting patiently for his true breakout game with Melvin Gordon III (hip), who is questionable for Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, dealing with nagging injuries in recent weeks. Williams has gains of 31 and 49 yards, respectively, in the last two games and is a true big-play back that can break tackles. He is fifth in the NFL in adjusted yards after contact per rush at 4.3 since Week 2, and he has 5.05 yards per carry for 202 yards and a score on 40 carries in the last four weeks compared to 3.69 yards per carry on 49 attempts for Gordon. There's a chance that Williams finally takes the majority of touches over Gordon this week, which would give him RB2 upside against a Raiders defense that has been vulnerable to running backs in the last three weeks -- 23.1 fantasy points per game allowed to RBs (seventh-most).
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the offense will be looking to carry over their fourth-quarter success in the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers into a Week 6 meeting with the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders. The Broncos scored 13 points on 10 first downs and 205 yards of total offense in comeback mode in the fourth quarter last week, but the Steelers also were playing softer coverage. Bridgewater has only gone over 300 yards passing once in five games, but he does have a nice TD-to-interception ratio of 7:1 and is completing a career-high 69.8% of his passes. The 28-year-old is taking care of the football, taking plenty of deep shots and taking what the defense gives him. Against a Raiders defense that has looked much better this year, Bridgewater will remain a midrange QB2 in superflex leagues.
The Seattle Seahawks defense has been inconsistent all season, but they have interesting upside in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers offense, outside of Week 5 against the Denver Broncos when they scored more than 17 points for the first time since Week 1, has struggled to consistently put up points. The Steelers have turned the ball over at least once in every game, except for their win against the Buffalo Bills, and the Seahawks defense has gotten at least one takeaway in four out of five games while averaging at least two sacks per game. If the Seattle offense can take care of the ball and sustain drives, which is asking a lot with Geno Smith now in for the injured Russell Wilson (finger), the defense could come out of the game with a solid fantasy performance this week.