In Week 8, as I was watching the Monday night Las Vegas Raiders-Detroit Lions game, I kept getting confused. The announcers kept mentioning the name “Reynolds,” and I kept perking up, thinking it was Josh Reynolds, whom I had on my fantasy football team.
It was not Josh Reynolds they were talking about.
Confusion With NFL Player Names in Fantasy Football
How dare a team have two players with the last name Reynolds, right?
Running back Craig Reynolds was signed as an Undrafted Free Agent (UDFA) to the Washington Redskins in 2019 and moved around from practice squad to practice squad, including with Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and lastly the Detroit Lions in 2021. When both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams were ruled out ahead of the Week 14 game of that season, Reynolds was elevated to the active roster. He was signed to the active roster officially in December 2021, and there has been no more practice squad for him since! In 2022, he was third fiddle to Swift and Williams and now remains third on the depth chart after Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. On Oct. 8, Craig Reynolds scored his first career touchdown.
Wide receiver Josh Reynolds was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. He was briefly signed by the Tennessee Titans in 2021 but was waived. The Detroit Lions saw their chance and claimed him off waivers in November 2021. Coming into 2023, Reynolds was likely third on the depth chart after Amon-Ra St. Brown and Marvin Jones. Due to Jones’ struggles at the beginning of the season and ultimately his stepping away from football due to personal reasons, Reynolds quickly ascended to being the surefire WR2 for this offense. Receiver Jameson Williams missed the first four weeks due to suspension, which only helped solidify Reynolds’ place on this offense.
With both Reynolds players having significant roles on this offense now, it’s likely the confusion will continue for fantasy players watching Lions games.
Past Mixups of NFL Player Names
Another confusing NFL player pair is the Williams running back combo of Darrel Williams and Damien Williams, who both played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 and 2019. For the majority of these years, Damien Williams was ahead of Darrel Williams on the depth chart. These two would’ve also played together in 2020, but Damien Williams opted out due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I remember a fantasy football draft where a league mate accidentally drafted Darrel Williams but meant to select Damien Williams and needed the pick switch. How dare these two players have the same name and play for the same team?
Neither of these players is fantasy-relevant anymore. Do they even still play in the NFL? Thanks to the internet for confirmation, Darrel Williams was signed in August 2023 to the New Orleans Saints but then released later in the month. Damien Williams is currently on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.
Advice for Asking Fantasy Football Questions
This NFL player names confusion extends past just confusion watching the games. There’s confusion for fantasy analysts answering start/sit questions posed by consumers, too.
The questions are often posed using just the players’ last names. I’m guilty of doing that myself when I ask my questions. Obviously, this creates issues as noted, where there are multiple Reynolds and multiple Williams. There are also multiple Johnsons, Wilsons, Hills, etc., who are fantasy-relevant.
The analyst may be answering the question based on which Johnson player they believe they are being asked about. If this is not the intended one, then the consumer gets inaccurate information, and then this engagement between the analyst/consumer hasn’t met its purpose. This is definitely an area we can all improve on in how we thoroughly exchange fantasy football information.
But even a better solution, maybe these players should just not have the same name, right? Haha.
What other common names are causing confusion in fantasy football today? Let me hear it.
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*Photo Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier – USA TODAY Sports*