While everyone prepares for the 2023 NFL Draft next week, we received some impactful NFL breaking news on Friday involving a prominent name in fantasy football. The NFL has suspended five players, including Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams, for violating the league’s gambling policy. Williams will be suspended for six games, as will fellow Lions wide receiver Stanley Berryhill. Meanwhile, Lions WR Quintez Cephus, Lions safety C.J. Moore, and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney are all suspended indefinitely and can reapply for reinstatement in a year. Let’s dive into more details and the fantasy football impact of this NFL suspension news.
Jameson Williams Among NFL Players Suspended For Gambling
Here are some more details on these NFL suspensions. Williams and Berryhill are being suspended for mobile betting on college football games while at the Lions’ team facilities. Those two players did not bet on NFL games, per reports, which is why the suspensions are only six games. Cephus, Moore, and Toney are believed to have bet on actual NFL games, hence the indefinite suspensions of at least one year apiece.
According to the league’s gambling policy, NFL players and personnel cannot bet on NFL games, the NFL Draft, or any league-related activities under any circumstances. They also are not allowed to place any bets while at a team facility or on team-related travel.
The Lions have since released both Cephus and Moore as they serve indefinite suspensions. Interestingly, the Lions also dismissed several staff members last month for violating the league’s gambling policy. This seems to be about the same time the team was made aware of the NFL’s investigation into Williams and others betting on sports at the team facility.
This now marks the second time the NFL has punished players for violating its gambling policy. You likely remember Calvin Ridley being suspended for the entire 2022 season after he bet on games that included the Atlanta Falcons. Ridley was reinstated by the NFL in March and is back on our fantasy football radars as one of the Jacksonville Jaguars' top receivers.
Fantasy Football Impact of Jameson Williams Suspension
Williams being suspended for six games is the big headliner here. The 12th overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft was expected to be a top offensive weapon for the Detroit Lions this season. Before this news, Williams was trending up in the 2023 fantasy football player rankings with a fantasy football ADP among the top 25 wide receivers. Naturally, we’ll see Williams’ ADP and rankings take a dip over the coming weeks with this news. At least he’s not out for the entire year like Calvin Ridley, but a six-game absence is almost half of the fantasy football regular season.
As a rookie last season, Williams only had one reception while being limited to just six games after returning from an ACL injury. Expectations were much higher going into his second season in Detroit, though, now that he was at full health with stronger chemistry with QB Jared Goff. Now that Williams is suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season, what does it mean for the Lions' offense in fantasy football?
Amon-Ra St. Brown is still the No. 1 wide receiver for Detroit and he’s being drafted as a top 10 WR in some fantasy football drafts right now. St. Brown had a breakout season for the Lions in 2022 with 106 receptions and 1,161 receiving yards. The ADP for St. Brown shouldn’t change much, but he’s now locked into an even safer amount of targets and production with Williams sidelined.
The three Detroit wideouts who now step into much bigger early-season roles are Marvin Jones, Kalif Raymond, and Josh Reynolds. All three should move up in fantasy football ADP and wide receiver rankings with more targets up for grabs in the first six games. Raymond finished second among Lions WRs last year in receptions (47) and yards (616), behind St. Brown in both. Reynolds had 38 catches, 479 yards, and three TDs last year for Detroit and started 11 of 14 games played. He could be the team’s starting slot WR with Williams out. Meanwhile, Jones Jr. returns to Detroit after having 46 receptions for 529 yards last season in Jacksonville.
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