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Javonte Williams Injury Update: Fantasy Football Implications For The Denver Broncos

Will Desvallees Oct 3rd 7:14 PM EDT.

Javonte Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury which changes the entire fantasy football landscape in Denver.

In yesterday’s contest between the Broncos and the Raiders, Denver’s starting running back sustained a severe knee injury. Williams had an MRI on his knee after the game and it was reported early this afternoon that he in fact tore his ACL. As a result, Williams will miss the remainder of the 2022 season, leaving Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone as the team’s top options at the position, at least for the time being. Denver could look to add another running back or promote someone from the practice squad but for now, it’s Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone time.

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Melvin Gordon has fundamentally struggled this season. He has been careless with the football and leads all running backs in fumbles (four fumbles, two turnovers). He’s also been inefficient running the football, as he is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry this season. Denver’s coaching staff must be considering a way to split the carries between Mike Boone and Gordon with Williams out of the equation. The Broncos’ coaching staff simply cannot ignore how poorly Gordon has played this season. It seems like a no-brainer for them to elevate Boone’s role in the lineup, at least for him to receive a solid share of the carries.

Gordon should still get the majority of the carries despite his fumbles and unimpressive rushing yards per carry as a result of his seniority and experience in the NFL. That said, he’s definitely on a short leash. The question is how much playing time Boone receives as the team’s new RB2. If the Broncos give 35%-40% of the carries to Boone moving forward, he could emerge as Week 5’s hottest waiver wire pickup. 

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It would be wise of the Broncos to tap into Gordon’s share of carries now that he is the team’s RB1 to give Boone a shot. As an undrafted 27-year-old now in his fifth NFL season, Boone has been a solid backup mostly for the Vikings since he entered the league. While he’s been very limited in terms of carries due to his role as a backup, Boone has had 78 carries for 434 yards in his NFL career. Boone had just four carries for the Broncos last season for 35 yards (8.8 AVG) and had his first three carries of 2022 for 20 yards (6.7 AVG). Though his NFL stats are limited because of how little he’s played since 2018, Boone has averaged 5.6 yards per carry in his NFL career. And you can’t really blame Boone for being buried on Minnesota’s depth chart behind superstar Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison

Though Gordon has played a lot more NFL football than Boone, Gordon has only averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his NFL career. He’s off to a terrible start, averaging less than four yards per carry (37 carries for 139 yards in 2022) and has only found the end zone once. Scoring more would make up for his four fumbles but he simply has not been able to hit pay dirt,

With Javonte Williams out for the remainder of the season, the Broncos will have to split carries between Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone. The fact of the matter is that Gordon has produced 6,283 rushing yards (4.1 AVG) and 54 touchdowns in his eight-year career. His abysmal play so far this season shouldn’t be enough for the Broncos to take away the majority of the carries from him. However, it will be interesting to see how much action Mike Boone receives in Week 5 and beyond in the wake of Javonte Williams’ absence. 

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Vikings DST MIN DST +8.3
Saints DST NO DST +6.3
Brandin Cooks HOU WR +5.7
Jason Myers SEA K +5.5
Foster Moreau LV TE +5.3
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Rashaad Penny SEA RB +4.7
Greg Dulcich DEN TE +4.0
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Jared Goff DET QB -12.0
Jets DST NYJ DST -11.4
Broncos DST DEN DST -10.6
Kenyan Drake BAL RB -10.2
Robbie Gould SF K -8.4
Chase Edmonds DEN RB -8.4
Jarvis Landry NO WR -8.3
Dolphins DST MIA DST -7.9
Tyler Boyd CIN WR -6.9
Cooper Kupp LAR WR -6.9
Aaron Rodgers GB QB -6.7
Darren Waller LV TE -6.6
Parris Campbell IND WR -6.2
Cam Akers LAR RB -6.2

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