Panthers' RB DeAngelo Williams was a hot topic for fantasy football owners this pre-season. Normally a guy who rushed for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns the year before wouldn't present much of a debate, but his incredible 5.5 yards per carry average (a level that was never reached by either Emmitt Smith or Walter Payton during their careers) split fantasy players into one of three groups:
Group A let Williams slide, taking him at the end of the first round or into the second round. In some cases, they avoided him completely. People in this group felt there was no way Williams could repeat last season's yards per carry average and were worried about the continued growth (and workload) of RB Jonathan Stewart. These factors pointed Williams out as a potential bust.
Group B took Williams early in the first round, maybe even among the top five picks. These owners felt Williams had established himself as a legitimate stud running back on a team with a great offensive line. A nagging pre-season injury to Stewart's foot only cemented Williams as a great first round pick.
Group C drafted Williams with an early first round pick because that's what the magazine said they should do.
After a week one performance of 14 rushes for 37 yards (an unimpressive 2.6 yards per carry average) both Group A and Group B have reason to worry about their decision. Group A knows that Williams started off slowly last season too, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry through the first four games. A meltdown in the Carolina passing game likely means an increase in chances for Carolina's rushers, and the Eagles defense was simply en fuego last week. A bad first week doesn't mean that Williams is a bust.
Group B also has plenty of concerns. Williams started off last season with a much better 86 rushing yard performance. The supposedly injured Jonathan Stewart only received three fewer carries than Williams. Carolina's next opponent is a Falcons defense that completely smothered the defending AFC East Champions in Week One. A bad first week doesn't mean that Williams will repeat last season.
(Group C is still trying to figure out why this "Cadillac" guy didn't appear in the magazine anywhere.)
There's no way to say which group was correct right now. If you drafted Williams, you'll start him. If you didn't, you'll root against him. No matter where you fall on DeAngelo Williams, the debate will continue for at least a few more weeks...and possibly all season.