Los Angeles Chargers expected to have Mike Williams vs. Bengals

After an initial report he’d probably be out, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is now trending toward playing on Sunday.

For the first time since Drew Brees’ final game for them in 2005, the Chargers will have someone other than Philip Rivers start a game on Sunday. But Tyrod Taylor may actually have an important piece available to him, with multiple reports now saying wide receiver Mike Williams will play against the Bengals.

Williams has been dealing with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, which put his Week 1 status in serious doubt with a game-time decision looking like the best-case scnario. He was listed as questionable on Friday, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that he was not expected to play.

Williams went from 10 touchdowns in 2018 all the way down to just two last year, due in equal part to bad fortune and a down year for Rivers. But he led the NFL in yards per catch last season (20.4), and he was second in yards per target (11.1), with a unique blend of size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and speed (4.49 40) making him one of the league’s most physically gifted receivers.

The Chargers will be without center Mike Pouncey on Sunday, and they may be without right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard Trai Turner too. So Taylor’s mobility stands to come in handy on Sunday behind a banged up offensive line, and having a big downfield target available would be helpful.

Ian Rapoport for NFL Network tempered the optimism a bit, further reporting the Chargers want to see Williams go through pre-game warmups before the 4:05 ET start in Cincinnati (however obviously). But the trend is decidedly positive, and that’s good news for Taylor and the Chargers as they try to start the 2020 campaign with a mark in the win column.

Next: Fantasy Football: 10 WR sleepers for Week 1

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