Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams is a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 in my 2022 fantasy football rankings. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Veteran Melvin Gordon recently told reporters that the Denver Broncos want Javonte Williams to be "the guy," which should create clarity about the team's running back situation ahead of fantasy football drafts.
"I think they have a plan on what they want heading in, but as far as the rotation goes, I really don't know," Gordon said Wednesday at practice in Englewood, Colo. "I think they want 'Vonte' to be the guy, but we do rotate."
Gordon started 16 games last season, but Williams was listed as the starter the starter on the Broncos' first unofficial depth chart. Neither running back appeared in the team's first preseason game, a 17-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in Denver.
Gordon totaled 1,131 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in his 16 appearances last season. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry and totaled 918 rushing yards.
Williams, a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, totaled 1,219 yards from scrimmage and seven scores in 17 games last season. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and totaled 903 rushing yards.
Williams is the No. 13 player in my Top 75 fantasy football running back rankings for the season. Gordon is my No. 34 running back.
I expect Williams to be a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 throughout the season, but his touchdown total could be hurt by Gordon's presence. Gordon is a low-end RB2 or flex play, but won't be consistent enough for regular starting spot usage.
"He'll take the first series and then the second series with the [No. 1 offense], I'll take," Gordon said of the Broncos' rotation at running back. "Sometimes we switch, but you know kind of how it is."
Gordon said he plans to improve his consistency in order to earn more playing time. Earlier this month, Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten also spoke about the running back split. He said Gordon and Williams will be on a "pitch count," which means the team will monitor the specific amount of touches they each get in games.
"I get more and more excited every time we step on the field with those guys, whether it's one guy one the field or both guys on the field," Outten said. "It's going to be a pitch count throughout the season and making sure we are very smart with those guys."
Gordon was the No. 16 rated running back in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He ranked eighth as a runner, but was the 47th-rated receiving back.
Williams was No. 19 overall and ranked 22nd as a runner and 28th as a pass catcher among running backs in 2021. The second-year running back ranked much higher than Gordon as a pass and run blocker.
The Broncos will face the Buffalo Bills in their second preseason game at 1 p.m. EDT Saturday in Orchard Park, N.Y. Neiter Bills coach Sean McDermott nor Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett has said which, if any, starters will play.
The Broncos will start the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 12 in Seattle.