Williams should still see playing time despite teammate Le'Veon Bell returning from suspension. Williams dominated the Steelers' backfield workload while Bell was suspended for the first three games of this season. Given that Bell is arguably the league's best tailback, he'll rightfully reclaim his leading role, but Pittsburgh's offense is still expected to use Williams going forward. While it remains to be seen just how many snaps and, more importantly, touches, Williams gets with Bell back in the fold, both players' well-rounded skill sets could allow the Steelers to get creative with their personnel in the weeks to come.
Williams rushed for 94 yards on 32 carries, and added four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown on five targets in Sunday's victory over the Bengals. This was a sloppy game on a ripped-up Heinz Field, which led to a heavy workload for the veteran running back. Williams continues to prove himself more than capable of stepping into a full-time role with Le'Veon Bell suspended, and he'll have the backfield mostly to himself again in Week 3 against the Eagles after finding pay dirt three times through two weeks. Enjoy this production while it lasts, because history suggests Bell's return will spell the end of Williams' heroics.
Williams rushed 26 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and caught six passes (on nine targets) for 28 yards in Monday night's win against the Redskins. Williams was simply outstanding Monday night, repeatedly gashing a Redskins defense that grew tired and allowing the Steelers to run the clock as the game unfolded. The veteran's 143 rushing yards marked his second-most since Week 17 of the 2012 season and Williams capped his performance with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns Monday. Not only that, but the 33-year-old did damage through the air, trailing only All-Pro Antonio Brown with six receptions. While his stock will obviously be impacted once top tailback Le'Veon Bell returns from suspension, Williams showed Monday that he's still plenty capable when called upon, and should be a great value as Pittsburgh's featured back through the first the weeks of this season.
Making his first appearance of the 2016 preseason, Williams gained 12 yards on four carries and nine yards on three receptions (four targets) in Friday's exhibition against the Saints. Williams split first-team work with Le'Veon Bell (susspension, who had three carries for 21 yards and five catches for 37 yards (five targets). It's telling that the two combined for nine targets, as the Steelers no longer have Martavis Bryant (suspension) and may not have Ladarius Green (ankle) early in the season. With Bell suspended for the first three games, Williams should be one of the busiest running backs in the league, handling a hefty workload both on the ground and through the air. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Daryl Richardson are vying for backup work.
Williams, who didn't suit up for Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles, will serve as the Steelers' starting running back for the first three regular season games after Le'Veon Bell's suspension was upheld by the NFL, NFL.com reports. Bell's rumored ban was confirmed Friday, pushing Williams into a prime position for the second year in a row. Last season, Williams received 10 starts due to Bell's initial suspension and subsequent MCL tear, during which the veteran racked up 152 carries for 633 yards and nine touchdowns, while tacking on 33 catches for 265 yards.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/03||Kansas City Chiefs||22||20.00|
|5||10/09||New York Jets||4||12.00|
|7||10/23||New England Patriots||13||15.00|
|13||12/04||New York Giants||2||11.00|
|3 Year Avg||155||656||5||24||248||0||119|