Fortunate as I am to be still in contention for a championship in three of my six fantasy leagues, (I was unceremoniously kicked out of one of the six league because I called out our commissioner for cheating, but that is another story) I am still having anxieties about setting lineups despite the quality of my teams. Melvin Gordon is throwing a wrench into my plans and my quarterback situations are as fluid as ever. One of my more intriguing decisions that I will have to make this week is between Tyrell Williams and Stefon Diggs.
These two players could not be in more different situations. Williams plays in an offense lead by a very capable, aggressive quarterback and is a huge target at six feet, four inches. Diggs is a smaller receiver at only six feet and plays in a conservative Vikings offense that rarely takes shots downfield. So who should I start? Let’s dive deeper into their match-ups and see if we can separate the two.
Let’s start with Williams. For context, the Chargers wideout is dealing with a sore labrum, but it has not caused him to miss any time. Last week against a weak Panther secondary, Williams caught only 2 balls. This was tied for his lowest total since only catching a single pass against Denver back in week 8. He did, however, gain 68 yards on those two catches. It was also his first game dealing with his shoulder injury, so it seems to be nothing more than a hiccup after a streak of four games where he caught a touchdown in each contest. Keenan Allen’s injury has opened the door for Williams to come out of nowhere to be a very solid WR2 all year. He is on pace for over 1,000 yards and 7+ touchdowns.
The Chargers draw Oakland at home this week, a team that has been very friendly vs. opposing quarterbacks despite having one of the more highly regarded cornerback duos in the NFL in David Amerson and Sean Smith. The last time Williams played the Raiders, he caught 5 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Another game removed from his injury, Williams should post a solid day with a decent matchup. This game has the makings of a potential shootout. When these two teams met in week 5, both quarterbacks topped 300 yards and they combined for 65 points.
Stefon Diggs isn’t 100% healthy either, but he is farther removed from a knee injury that kept him out of the Thanksgiving day game than Williams is from his most recent ailment. Diggs is on pace for similar yardage totals as Williams despite already missing 2 games this season, but his touchdown totals are a bit lacking. To make up for it (at least in PPR leagues) Diggs is snagging over 7 balls a game to Williams average of 4.23.
When I looked at the snap counts, I was surprised to see that Diggs tends to run almost 60% of his snaps from the slot. This avoids a matchup with Vontae Davis, who despite his struggles, is still a very talented corner. This game will be much more about how many points Andrew Luck and the Colts can put up against the vaunted Vikings defense. If they can maintain a lead and keep the Vikings passing the ball, then Diggs would surely see a nice target share. The problem is, that is no guarantee.
This is the fantasy playoffs, and you play to win the games. Diggs may possess the safer floor at first glance, but when you look at the numbers, they have equal amounts of sub-10 point fantasy performances in PPR leagues. This detracts me from Diggs, (who has played 2 fewer games to get those similar results) along with the fact that Williams is a much better bet to find the end zone.
I am starting: Tyrell Williams