by Russ Bliss (3-19-11)

The latest topic for the roundtable discussion was to compare Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin to Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Williams and select whichever one you prefer. We could choose to tackle it from either a dynasty or redraft point of view. I have posted my thoughts on our fantasy football blogs page and how I like both a lot and expect both to be highly placed on my fantasy football cheat sheets by the time the season begins. Be sure to check out why I slightly prefer the upside of the Bucs Mike Williams being his teams #1 WR to Maclin being in the better system.

In addition to myself our panel of fantasy analysts for this topic were:

Rick Perkins, FantasyFootballTrader
Jeff Pasquino, DynastyGuys
RC Rizza, JunkyardJake
Ryan Lester, Lester's Legends
Derek Lofland, FantasyFootballManiax
James Piatt, FanaticFantasyFootball

Here are excerpts from what each analyst had to say and my take on their reply. For the complete write-up of what all of us said, check out the Williams vs. Maclin article at

Rick Perkins

"...Ultimately, there's two main reasons I'd go with Jeremy Maclin for dynasty purposes...First...Mike Williams has shown a propensity for making questionable decisions away from football...Second, I'm simply more confident in Philly's system philosophy than I am in the Bucs...Year in and year out, the Eagles have proven to lean more heavily on the pass than almost any other team in the league (57% pass : 43% rush ratio in 2010) while the Buccaneers are virtually at the other end of the spectrum...when you factor maturity and supporting cast, Maclin pulls ahead by a discernable margin in dynasty."

Rick makes the same observation about Williams that others made: character questions. And that is a concern. Williams had no such issue as a rookie, but his past is littered with them and it has to be a concern if he continues to have success.

Jeff Pasquino

"... Jeremy Maclin is the player to own here by almost any metric...The Eagles throw the ball more and Maclin gets the "easier" cornerback in coverage thanks to DeSean Jackson. Williams has only Kellen Winslow (and possibly Arrelious Benn) to draw away coverage - but there is no doubt which wide receiver draws the best coverage when defenses line up against the Bucs.  Maclin is not flashy, but he is solid and stable for the Eagles...and even though he had 15 fewer targets than Williams last year (113 vs. 128) they both had exactly 964 yards...The issue going forward is that Tampa Bay will try and establish a better ground attack while we all know that Reid will throw 65% of the time with his high-flying Eagles.  That means Williams' 128 targets are going to go down, as will his team percentage of the targets once Benn and other receivers develop..."

Jeff admitted at the very beginning of his explanation that he is an Eagles fan who watches every snap of every game they play, and that could explain why he very clearly prefers Maclin to Williams more definitively than anyone else. But he does make an excellent point about the CB's each player will face. And as the other weapons the Bucs have develop, Williams' targets could decrease. The Eagles don't really throw 65% of the time, but they are always one of the teams that hovers at the 60/40 pass/run ratio every year and Maclin is solid and stable.

RC Rizza

"...While Jeremy Maclin is a bit smaller than Mike Williams, he more than makes up for the slight height disadvantage with his true game-breaking speed and superior after-the-catch ability.  Maclin showed nice progress in his second year, following up his 762 yard, four TD rookie season with 70 catches, 964 yards and 10 TDs in 2010. These numbers are of course similar to what Mike Williams was able to accrue in his rookie year, but I believe Maclin might be the marginally better bet in 2011.  Besides Maclin's higher probability to score long TDs in comparison to Williams, Maclin also belongs to a stronger offensive unit, featuring a resurgent Michael Vick, a dangerous backfield weapon in LeSean McCoy, and the explosive DeSean Jackson who commands a great deal of defensive attention on the other side of the field..."

There's a lot to be said about players playing within a system, and there is little doubt the Eagles are known for throwing the football. This leads to their WR's being very desirable. RC also mentions Williams' character issues and that appears to be a big concern for the analysts.

Ryan Lester

"...Mike Williams was a beast as a rookie catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scored four touchdowns in the final three weeks of the season. He was only held without a score in six games last year. If you want a downside, it's that Williams never had a monster game. He only topped 100 yards once...He also was held below 80 yards in eleven games last year. Jeremy Maclin was held below 80 yards in 12 games, but he did have some bigger games. He had two 120+ yard games, as well as three multiple touchdown games...Maclin's big games made him less consistent. He was held without a touchdown in nine games. I don't think you can go wrong either way...I'm going to have to go with Jeremy Maclin. He has a longer track record with two solid seasons under his belt. Williams set the bar much higher in his rookie year than Maclin did, but he has to prove that he can come back and do it again."

Ryan makes an excellent observation here: Williams was a steady producer of fantasy points regularly while a large chunk of Maclin's production came in a few big games. I think as Williams matures in the NFL, he'll start having those big games.

Derek Lofland

"...There are only so many offensive plays and touchdowns to be scored in a game. When an offense has a lot of talent, is one football enough for them to all score? One team that could experience that dilemma in 2011 is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are loaded with fantasy talent...I am not that worried that the Eagles have too many offensive weapons. Head coach Andy Reid is known for being a very pass-heavy head coach...Williams is also in a great situation...Josh Freeman just completed his second year and is likely to improve in his third year. There is not another receiver on the roster that is going to take away touches, which means Williams should see a lot of targets...Williams is going to be ranked in my top 20 in 2011...In a dynasty league, I think Williams has more value than Maclin...However, in a seasonal league I think Maclin has a little less risk...Maclin is entering his third year instead of his second. That extra year makes Maclin slightly more proven than Williams..."

Derek is on to something here with his wondering if there are enough footballs to keep all the weapons the Eagles have as top flight fantasy producers. I am a big fan of Maclin, but the competition for touches between him and the other great options hinders him in the quest to be a legit #1 WR for fantasy. Williams just needs to prove his rookie season was the beginning of something special and not a fluke for him to take the next step.

James Piatt

"...Looking at numbers and considering the cast of players on each team, I look for both receivers to increase their production a bit more in 2011, but nothing earth-shattering. Mike Vick will spread the ball around for the Eagles in 2011 the same as he did in 2010. Jeremy Maclin is entering his third year as a pro, a year when many young wide receivers really start putting their game together to produce some big numbers...Josh Freeman didn't have a lot of good options at wide receiver to throw to in 2010, but rookie Mike Williams shined in his initial season with the Buccaneers...Josh Freeman doesn't have as many mouths to feed in Tampa Bay via the air attack, bolstering my belief that Williams could very well jump into the group of top 10 wide receivers this year. My task this week is to choose which wide receiver I would draft in a keeper league format. If I'm on the clock and both Maclin and Williams are available, but the one I don't select won't make it back to me, give me Mike Williams of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers..."

James put together an impressive table of stats for both the Bucs and Eagles in his write-up. It appears he is of the same opinion as me in the end though: both players are excellent, but if the choice is between one or the other, the potential top 10 boom for Williams is the deciding factor.


See Russ's thoughts and breakdowns on previous Roundtable discussions:

2011 Bounceback Fantasy Player

Sam Bradford vs. Josh Freeman

Sleeper RB Not Ranked in the Top 25 at the Position Based on ADP