Damien Williams could become a key figure in the Super Bowl; that is, if the Chiefs are looking to balance what Patrick Mahomes does through the air with a real running game. And there haven’t been a heck of a lot of people who thought he could be so important; that is, until just recently.
While the San Francisco 49ers have what has been referred to as a “three-headed monster” in the backfield, the Chiefs have something a little more along the lines of a “committee,” and for all intents and purposes, Williams is the head of that committee.
The folks at BetAnySports have taken notice of his role with this team as they issue a proposition on his production for Sunday’s “Big Game,” which is slated for 6:30 PM ET at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
DAMIEN WILLIAMS RUSH ATTEMPTS
Under 13.5 attempts -140
Over 13.5 attempts +120
Williams spent his first four years in the NFL with the Dolphins, so he is no stranger to these surroundings. While the coaches in Miami did not find a way to make him central to the ground game, that situation has indeed arisen with Andy Reid in Kansas City.
Williams’ usefulness rose after the suspension and subsequent release of Kareem Hunt last season. When Hunt was cited for assault against a female companion, the Chiefs suddenly became thin in the backfield. Spencer Ware was added, but he got hurt as well. So Williams ultimately became a “go-to” buy for the playoffs. He ran over the Indianapolis Colts for 154 yards and then had 96 yards against the Patriots in the unsuccessful AFC title game, with three TD’s (two rushing, one receiving). So he is a dual-purpose contributor.
Still, until this season he has not had more than 50 carries in any season.
He has topped that this year, with 111 for 498 yards. That’s a solid 4.5 yards per carry, with 30 receptions. With his presence, along with the addition of LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde became somewhat expendable.
In the two playoff games, Williams hasn’t had imposing numbers (29 carries, 92 yards – that’s 3.2 ypc). But he’s had a pair of touchdowns. Williams knows how to find the end zone; he has eight rushing TD’s and three more catching the ball. And he’s been able to make the big play, with touchdowns of 84 and 91 yards.
The numbers indicate that even if Williams isn’t gaining yards at a high per-carry rate, they will go to him anyway as a way of getting balance, because, well they have to show San Francisco that they are willing to run the ball. For that reason we can support an OVER on the carries (13.5) at a reasonable price.
DAMIEN WILLIAMS RECEIVING YARDS
Williams over 29.5 yards -115
Williams under 29.5 yards -105
This edition of the Chiefs, like all teams coached by Andy Reid, has an effective and efficient screen game. When Patrick Mahomes has sought him out, he’s been accurate 81% of the time.
When these teams take the field, it is going to help Kansas City if it can establish something using play-action. That has constituted 31.4% of all of their dropbacks. And for this to have any effect, Williams is going to have to be in on the party.
How much that happens is anyone’s guess. How will Reid and his offensive coordinator, Eric Bienemy, distribute the ball? Well, some of that may depend on whether the Niners get off to an early lead (which they are notorious for doing) and push the Chiefs into a game plan adjustment.
We kind of like the way Williams has responded in post-season situations. And inasmuch as San Francisco has done a great job defending “explosive” plays in the passing game, this guy may be an ideal checkdown option. His numbers on the season don’t necessarily reflect that, though. It’s hard to support the “over” on receiving yards for a guy who only had 213 yards in receptions for the whole season, despite his 44 against Tennessee. So we are UNDER on that one.
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