Projecting Jameson Williams’ 2024 season stats

Projecting Jameson Williams’ 2024 season stats

The Detroit Lions are expecting big things from Jameson Williams this year. The third-year receiver is essentially the unchallenged WR2 behind Amon-Ra St. Brown and is currently poised for his first full professional season.

But he’s also a very difficult player to project in 2024. While he’ll undoubtedly see far more opportunities than he has ever in his professional career, his efficiency on the field has fluctuated wildly. Ask anybody what they expect of Williams’ third NFL season, and you’ll get answers somewhere between a bust and an All-Pro season.

NFL analyst Matt Harmon joined James Koh on their “Reception Perception” podcast to speak exclusively about Williams and his projections for the 2024 season. Harmon, who also wrote a complete profile on Williams here, admitted that he is one of the most difficult players to project this year.

“I don’t really have a very strong feeling on how this one is going to play out,” Harmon said. “I don’t have a strong take on this one, which is, again, ironic, because people seem to have very, very strong feelings and opinions on what Jameson Williams will or will not be.”

Historically, there aren’t a lot of modern wide receivers who have shown as little production as Williams has in his first two years (25 catches, 395 yards, 3 TDs) and turned out to be a great receiver. But Harmon correctly pushes aside historical precedence, as Williams is certainly a unique case with his ACL injury and gambling suspension.

“One thing I do think I actually believe pretty strongly is that the typical analysis for players—which is ‘guys haven’t produced to this x standard through two years or whatever—we can write those guys off.’ I don’t think that’s fair in this situation,” Harmon said.

Then Harmon talked about Williams’ production last year. He notes something that I find very interesting: a clear difference between Williams’ overall productivity for the 2023 season vs. his productivity in the last five games (including the playoffs).

“If you just use those Week 15 games (and) on, Williams checks in with a 67.3 percent success rate vs. man, 84.9 percent success rate vs. zone, and 64.7 percent against press,” Harmon explains. “Those are still mixed-bag results, but they’re far more encouraging than what we saw in the full-season sample.

For context, a “good” receiver, per Reception Perception has about a 70 percent success rate vs. man and 80 percent vs. zone. Williams was right there in both categories for the final stretch of the season. But for the entire season, he was only successful 57 percent against man and 72 percent vs. zone.

So what does this mean for Williams in 2024? It’s a pretty small sample size to draw definitive conclusions, but with Dan Campbell feeling very optimistic about Williams’ progress, the growth he showed last year, and the opportunity he has this year, there is certainly a chance for a special season for the former first-round pick.

“I think if you want to squint and see a best-case scenario, maybe he’s early-career Brandin Cooks,” Harmon said before predicting somewhere near a 100-target season for Williams

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