Williams had his fifth-year option extended Thursday, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports. This one felt automatic considering Williams has improved each of his first three years as a pro. While touchdown regression spoiled a truly standout third-year campaign, the big-bodied wideout still posted over 1,000 receiving yards despite tallying just 49 receptions in 2019. His emergence as a deep-field threat despite playing with a less-than-desirable deep thrower in quarterback Philip Rivers only reinforced Williams' obvious growth at the position. The 24-year-old's development will be a focal point of an offense that will see a new Chargers QB under center -- whether it's veteran Tyrod Taylor or 2020 No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert -- for the first time in almost two decades.
Williams acknowledged after the Chargers' Week 17 loss to the Chiefs that he had been battling pain in his knee throughout the season after getting injured in the team's win over the Colts in the opener, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports. While Williams indicated that all follow-up MRIs conducted on his knee cleared him of any major damage and allowed him to play on, he wasn't the dominant force in the red zone he had been in 2018. Despite sitting out just one game, Williams finished with two touchdowns, eight fewer than he registered the year prior. On a positive note, he developed into more of a downfield threat, averaging a career-high 20.4 yards per reception and narrowly clearing 1,000 yards for the season. He'll likely take the necessary time off to rest his knee, but Williams should be good to go for spring workouts, as he's not expected to require any offseason procedures.
Williams caught two of five targets for 38 yards in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. Williams joined the Titans' A.J. Brown as one of only two players to record over 1,000 receiving yards while catching 55 or fewer passes on the season, finishing the campaign with 49 receptions, 1,001 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Though his touchdowns were down dramatically from the year prior, Williams' emergence as a dangerous downfield threat was a welcome development for Los Angeles. Still, the 2017 first-round pick was essentially "only" a deep-ball specialist, falling behind the likes of Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler in terms of intermediate and underneath targets. Heading into 2020, the big-bodied wideout is unlikely to have as much difficulty crossing the goal line as he did in 2019, but better health from another red-zone threat in tight end Hunter Henry -- as well as uncertainty at quarterback, if Philip Rivers doesn't return -- could work against Williams' chances of reaching double-digit touchdowns again.
Williams caught three of his four targets for 51 yards in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Raiders. Williams very nearly kept his two-game touchdown streak alive, but a pass interference penalty at the goal line ultimately set up a one-yard Melvin Gordon plunge to register the Chargers' first touchdown of the contest. Williams needs 88 receiving yards to post a 1,000-yard season, but after scoring 10 touchdowns in 2018, his two-touchdown output has dampened an otherwise solid year from the 2017 first-round pick.
Williams (knee) practiced fully Thursday. Williams was limited at practice Wednesday, but his return to full participation Thursday puts the Chargers' starting wideout in line to play Sunday against the Raiders, who have lost four straight contests heading into Week 16. After going 11 games without a TD to start the season, Williams -- who made 11 trips to the end zone in 2018 -- has hit paydirt in back-to-back outings. Now that he's back in scoring mode, the 2017 first-rounder's fantasy outlook is on the upswing in advance of his team's final two regular-season games.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/20||Kansas City Chiefs||4||16.68|
|4||10/04||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||32||27.63|
|5||10/13||@New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|6||10/18||New York Jets||25||23.50|
|9||11/08||Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|13||12/06||New England Patriots||1||12.76|
|15||12/18||@Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|17||01/03||@Kansas City Chiefs||4||16.68|
|3 Year Avg||60||34||587||4||28||17.26||83|