July 20, 2024

Dynasty Dilemma: Kyren Williams

6 min read

Dynasty Dilemma: Kyren Williams

By Cody Foldon

 

 

Last year, I wrote a dynasty dilemma on Kyren Williams at the start of the 2023 season. If you want to go back and read that, you can. But, for the quick synopsis, I believed Kyren Williams was a “hold” in Dynasty last year. With the season underway, Akers got traded about a week after publishing the article. Kyren Williams becomes THE guy. Racking up impressive stats, which we will get into, and becoming a focal point in the offense. He opens up the passing game for Matthew Stafford, Puka Nacua, and Cooper Kupp.

What does this mean for dynasty football? In dynasty fantasy football, there are a few strategies for the running back position. One strategy is to only draft younger running backs. You then sell them when their rookie contract is up. Another is to trade your picks. You can gather as many studs as possible, depending on your build. There are also people going the zero running back build. For the sake of this article, we are going with the first strategy. This is the strategy I tend to buy into more often than not.

Most of the leagues I am in are half-point PPR leagues with no kickers and defense but 3 flex positions. So the build is (1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 3 FLX). In my opinion, with this starting lineup, I’m trying to acquire as many wide receivers as possible. Right now, young wide receivers are more likely to succeed. With that being said Williams is only 23 years old. Lets get into some of reasons why we should be buying Kyren, and selling him.

 

 

REASON TO BUY

 

Production & Snap Percentage 

His sophomore season was far more productive than his rookie campaign. He was also the bell cow in regards to carries (228) and snap percentage (59%). He rushed for 1144 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had 32 receptions for 206 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. Kyren started 11 of 12 games this year. He was the Rams’ most reliable runner. Another big L for me from one dilemma to the next is I thought Zach Evans was going to be the big breakout star in his rookie year when it was Ronnie Rivers.

 

Competition

The odds were stacked against Kyren Williams coming into the league in 2022. We will definitely dive into that later in the reasons to sell. But, as a reason to buy Kyren Williams, we need to look at the total snaps. We need to see how they relate to his progression. Going into the 2022 season, it was a split backfield with Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers leading the way. With that, you can see there were signs that Kyren had the inside track to get more playing time. 

 

For the tables reference, 2022 had a total of 1021 snaps on offense, and 2023 had 1206. The percentage is for snap percentage in that year and the number is the overall number of snaps. 

 

20222023
Cam Akers – 428 – 42% Kyren Williams – 716 – 59%
Darrell Henderson – 331 – 33%Royce Freeman – 209 – 17%
Kyren Williams – 141 – 14%Darrell Henderson – 126 – 10%
Malcolm Brown – 95 – 9 %Ronnie Rivers – 111 – 9%
Ronnie Rivers – 25 – 2%Cam Akers – 28 – 2%
Jake Funk  – 1 snapZach Evans – 16 – 1%

 

We see a 45% hike in snap count for Kyren from one year to the next. Freeman and Henderson played due to injuries that sidelined Kyren for a few weeks. This percentage could have been even higher. Based only on snap counts, it is almost impossible for Rivers or Evans to catch Kyren. He will simply have more playing time and fantasy relevance. 


There is no true competition in the way of Kyren Williams on the depth chart. The only thing in his way is Kyren, and Sean McVay

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

REASON TO SELL

 

The McVay Effect

Sean McVay has been the LA Rams head coach for seven seasons. For his first 3 seasons, he had Todd Gurley. During this time in fantasy football, Gurley was undeniably a top 5 draft pick in redraft formats. McVay did one thing right after Gurley. He started using star players more efficiently. McVay ran Gurley into the ground with 3 of the 4 years he had over as many carries as Kyren did last year. He has become more efficient in using his backs, I will give him that.

Is Kyren finally his full correction? After Gurley and his knee issue, McVay split the backfield. Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers split carries for the next 3 seasons starting in 2020. Making it virtually impossible for fantasy owners to rely on one or the other. With that, came this year. 

The table above shows that Kyren Williams had a higher percentage of being on the field since Todd Gurley. This year will be very telling. We’ll see if McVay is going to give more run with Ronnie Rivers and Zach Evans. Otherwise, he might draft the next guy up in the upcoming draft. Kyren is in year 3 of 4 of his rookie deal. I honestly see McVay turning back to more of a committee. This is based on his past trends, and fear of a Todd Gurley injury again.

 

Injury History

Speaking of injury history, Kyren has had some too. It’s not dire. But, LA Rams running backs have a history of injury. Todd Gurley had knee injuries and Cam Akers had achilles injuries. So, McVay could become cautious again. A reason why he may have only had a 14 % snap share in 2022 was because of a high ankle sprain in the season opener.

While sustaining another high ankle on the same foot, he missed Weeks 7 through 11 the next year. He’s 5’9″ tall and just below 200 pounds, so you hope his physical run style can be sustained. However, he doesn’t have breakaway speed like other smaller backs, having run a 4.65 at the combine. So, durability has to start becoming a concern until proven otherwise.

 

 

VERDICT

I picked the strategy of always going for the younger running backs. While Kyren Williams is only 23, he may be the exception to my rule. I have given you reasons to buy and sell. But, the biggest reason I am selling is how I even acquired Kyren in the first place. 

There was some draft hype for Zach Evans. Cam Akers was still there, so people saw an expendable piece in Kyren Williams. I picked him up off waivers last season. There is always a team in dire need of a running back. With how hit-and-miss the position is, he is being sought out in trades.

On Dynasty Pros Trade Calculator it indicates you can get a mid first round pick and a potential breakout wide receiver for Kyren Williams. 

With the 5 flex spots and wanting to fill those with wide receivers. I can get a potential breakout like Alec Pierce. I might get the pick of the litter after Marvin Harrison Jr. It may be a no-brainer.

It is time to sell Kyren Williams. Whether you drafted him and he is an extra running back for you. Which, in most cases, with his injury history he probably is. Can you get by with the two or three you have? Can you then get one of the top QBs, Bowers, or a top WR in your rookie drafts with that 5th pick? I would be taking what I can get and selling. Kyren Williams price will never be higher.