By: Matthew Dwyer (Twitter: @TheDynastyMD)
Updated: 5/11/2107

Mike Williams Versus The World

Mike Williams has been an interesting prospect to me this year, as he is absolutely in the top five wide receivers in this draft class, but I don’t see the extreme drop off between him and the other wide receivers. Mike Williams is a clear cut 1.05 pick in dynasty rookie drafts to most people this year, and I cannot say that I am happy with taking him at that spot. That being so, I am writing this article to say that in that position I am indeed trading down from the 1.05 spot and acquiring assets plus picks instead.

Let me first say that this is not to say I don’t think Mike Williams is not worth a first round pick. I do, however I do not think he is worth the 5th pick. If he were projected at 1.08 or 1.09 I could understand taking him there, and would gladly put this to rest. This is in fact where I would also put taking a risk on a couple other wide receivers such as Juju Smith-Schuster, or Chris Godwin.

I put out a few tweets which polled approximately 150 people each to gauge where consensus pegged Mike Williams, and was surprised by the extent of the hype surrounding rookies still. Everyone knows this wide receiver class was not the best, yet we are still giving high draft grades to too many. The polls ran 1 day and compared Mike Williams to other players in search of his spot in dynasty world. ADP would give a general range, but when you compare one player to another player then you get more vivid picture.
The names and percentages for and against (meaning taking Mike Williams) are as follows:

Pierre Garcon, for: 11% Against: 89%
Emmanuel Sanders, for: 28% Against: 72%
Jamison Crowder, for: 28% Against: 72%
Willie Snead, for: 24% Against:76%
Jordan Matthews, for: 21% Against: 79%
Donte Moncrief, for: 38% Against: 62%
Corey Coleman, for: 57% Against: 43%
Keenan Allen, for: 68% Against: 32%
Sammy Watkins, for: 78% Against: 22%
Michael Thomas, for: 89% Against: 11%
AJ Green, for: 94% Against: 6%
Doug Baldwin, for: 61% Against: 39%
Breshad Perriman, for: 29% Against: 71%
Dez Bryant, for: 82% Against: 18%

Let me also waste some of your time with some airyards.com stats per player, and yearly receiving yardage stats. Air Yards is an incredible tool in the dissection of players when it comes to any air stats in NFL.

Now Mike Williams is not a bad prospect. He is a fine prospect and a great wide receiver as far as this class of wide receivers go. Let me again say this is nothing against Mike Williams the player, but the massive chasm people are putting between Mike Williams and the rest of the receiver class. I just dispute the claims that Mike Williams is far greater than some of the names above, before he has even taken a snap in the league, and especially with his landing on LA Chargers. The breakdown of the former San Diego has had a total of 4992, 4931, and 4808 in years 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

In 2016:
Tyrell Williams had 1382 of those AY.
Antonio Gates had 769 AY.
Dontrelle Inman had 1067 AY.
Hunter Henry had 462 AY.
Travis Benjamin had 1038 AY.
That’s a total of 4718 AY.
And let’s not forget that Keenan Allen would have had a hefty share as well if healthy.

Put into context:
Tyrell Williams was number 23 in AY in 2016.
Ahead of names like Alshon Jeffery, Amari Cooper, Aj Green, and Doug Baldwin.
Dontrelle Inman was number 42 in AY in 2016.
Ahead of, the apparent Saint, Michael Thomas.
Travis Benjamin was number 46 in AY in 2016.

This being the case, the Chargers have a deep Wide receiver corps already, and have 4 top 50 wide receivers on their roster. The Mike Williams pick may have been a hasty pick incase anything happens to Keenan Allen again. Mike Williams could be sitting on a bench next year, or he could also carve out a small role in the offense, my point would be that he is likely not becoming the number 2 or 1 option. There is merit to the number 3 wide receiver which he could become, taking over Travis Benjamin’s air yards and becoming relevant, but again there is only so many air yards to go around. Phillip Rivers is getting older, and the window is closing on him. Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and even Dontrelle Inman will be taking some of that Air Supply. Mike Williams might hit 1000 air yards, which would put him still underneath Travis Benjamin’s air yard total from last year, which again is not a bad thing.

Mike Williams is fine.

There is nothing wrong or bad about him; he is fine.
However at 1.05 do you want to draft fine?

I’d stand by my point and say no. You trade down and get top 24, and a “fine” prospect at a lower draft spot. (even trading down into the 2nd round)
Emmanuel Sanders, Jamison Crowder, Willie Snead, Jordan Matthews, Pierre Garcon and Breshad Perriman all have great circumstances where they are playing.

Their 2016 Air Yards ranks?
Emmanuel Sanders was 9th in air yards with 1683.

Jamison Crowder was 63rd with 802 air yards. Watch this number grow.
Willie Snead was 65th with 783 air yards. Brandin Cooks gone, Snead’s 104 targets will grow.
Jordan Matthews was 38th with 1108 air yards.
Pierre Garcon was 32nd! With 1175 air yards. And now an offense all to himself!

Breshad Perriman was 57th with 899 air yards. Baltimore did NOT draft a wide receiver.

You take any one of these and move down in the 1st or move out of the first and you will be laughing as you head to 2017. Mike Williams is so highly regarded over these names that Breshad Perriman was the closest in percentage at 29% of votes for him. That is still many who would easily take Mike Williams over Breshad.

I’ve heard the argument against Pierre Garcon is age, and I will give you that you may not get too many years left of production, but he is still producing now. There is nothing to fear if the air yards and efficiency are there. He is the biggest name in San Francisco! He will demand Air yards, and will therefore produce. Of the 1175 Air Yards thrown at Pierre Garcon, he posted 1041 receiving yards, which translates to a small 134 wasted Air Supply. This is efficiency you chase especially with the Shanahan offensive system in place. Age should not always be the dictator of your dynasty. In fact run against the youth movement and settle your lineups with these way too cheap veterans and stock later round youth that can develop, and you will be a healthier dynasty.

I will leave off saying, if Mike Williams falls out of the first round in your rookie draft, then you better take him 2.01. That is a bargain, and you do not pass on it. Mike Williams is definitely worth the picks 8-10 in a rookie draft, and if he falls further than that it is a steal. I am not saying I’m avoiding Mike Williams altogether, but let’s start thinking smart and slotting him in where he belongs.