Fantasy impact of Karlos Williams’ suspension

The Buffalo RB was supposed to be the team's top handcuff option this season, but that is changing, says Jeff Ratcliffe.

| 2 months ago
(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Fantasy impact of Karlos Williams’ suspension


Things just got even stranger in the Buffalo backfield, as RB Karlos Williams has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy for substances of abuse. Williams already made news this offseason for showing up to Buffalo OTAs 20-25 pounds overweight. He now has plenty of time to shed the excess weight, as he’s eligible to return in Week 5 when the Bills travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.

This news comes just one day after rookie RB Jonathan Williams was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Arkansas. While he isn’t likely to face an immediate discipline from the league, Williams did himself no favors as he attempts to earn No. 2 duties behind starter LeSean McCoy.

Karlos Williams is coming off an impressive rookie campaign where he ranked second among running backs in fantasy points per opportunity. His 2.9 yards after contact per attempt was among the league leaders, and Williams found the end zone nine times on just 104 touches.

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While the Williamses were expected to battle for backup duties, this odd series of events opens the door for Dolphins castoff Mike Gillislee. After spending time on the Falcons’ practice squad, Gillislee signed with the Bills in early December and was thrust into immediate action. With Karlos Williams sidelined in Week 13, Gillislee carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and showed nice burst on a 30-yard run. He then scored in three straight games, but finished the season on a low note with just 28 yards on 24 carries against the Jets in Week 17.

Still, Gillislee proved to be an effective change-of-pace back, and he arguably played just as well as Williams over the last three games of the season. With the two Williams boys in hot water, Gillislee has a much better chance of winding up as McCoy’s backup than he did this time two days ago.

| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is one of the most accurate rankers in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

  • majesstik1

    I think this bumps Shady up to the top of the second tier RBs, too. I’ve got him as my RB8 now.