We’re barely into March and still 13 days from the new league year officially beginning, but the flurry of off-season moves continues. On Wednesday, Tyrell Williams signed with the Detroit Lions.
Williams began his career with the Chargers, playing for San Diego/Los Angeles for four seasons. During that time, he caught 155 passes for 2,530 yards and 17 TDs. As a free agent during the 2019 off-season, Williams signed a multi-year deal with the Raiders. In 2019, as one of the main threats in the Raiders’ passing game after Antonio Brown was released, Williams started 12 games and caught 42 passes on 64 targets for 651 yards and six TDs.
During the 2020 off-season, the writing was on the wall that Williams’ time with the Raiders would be short. The team signed Nelson Agholor and drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Williams figured to have plenty of competition, but his season ended before it started when he was placed on IR September 1, 2020 with a torn labrum.
Williams was released by the Raiders in a cap-saving move on February 24 and found a new landing spot in Detroit Wednesday. He signed a one-year deal worth a maximum of $6.2 million. He offers a new weapon for Detroit quarterback Jared Goff, and beings to help Detroit re-make its receiver room.
The Lions top two receivers from 2020, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola, are free agents. So, too, is young star Kenny Golladay, who missed much of 2020. The Lions are rumored to be considering the franchise tag for Golladay, but if they don’t the team has plenty of work to do.
In addition to Williams, the Lions receivers are led by Geronimo Allison, the former Packers’ receiver who opted out in 2020, and second-year receiver Quintez Cephus. Cephus had 20 receptions for 349 yards and two TDs as a rookie and appears poised for a big year two. But the addition of Williams provides the offense with an affordable, experienced veteran in the mix.
In terms of fantasy, it’s tough to quantify Williams value until the rest of the off-season is decided. Williams was WR47 in 2019 with the Raiders and WR48 in 2018 with the Chargers. He has potential to be a low-end WR4/high end WR5, and may have even more upside if he stays healthy and the Lions are unable to bring back Golladay. At the very least he should be a low-cost option to provide bench depth and spot starting.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.