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James White Is Undervalued in Fantasy Drafts

His ADP has somehow fallen even further since I wrote this. I think White is the biggest steal in the draft right now.

Counterpoint:

IMO, his ADP should keep falling cause he’s a trap.

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Great article. The 1st/2nd half splits are for sure interesting, but I’m still buying in on White more than I am Edelman or Sony or Harry. As a Pats fan myself, I feel like he’s been trending this way ever since he was drafted and now he’s got at least one more year as the centerpiece of the offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the rare RB that gets paid in NE too.

Im all in on white if Edelman is out. :stuck_out_tongue:

White is injury prone dependent. The odds of those injuries happening are extremely high to Edleman, Burkhead and Sony. I want to grab him again but on the cheap. If those odds play out he could win the second half of the season for people easily but not the first half or, until the injuries start taking a toll which they will. Especially to Sony. No way is he making it through a whole season.

Compared to 2017, White’s numbers went WAY up last year:

49 more targets.
31 more receptions.
332 more receiving yards
4 more TDs

But the real eye popper is his rushing stat line.

51 more rushing attempts
245 more yards
5 more TDs

Regression is inevitable.

HOWEVER: his ADP will continue to fall, as it should ; it is currently at 5.01 in PPR 12 team according to FFC. That’s too high.

But even if he returns to his 2017 numbers, he’ll have draft value in PPR leagues. I don’t expect that he’ll drop all the way back to 2017 numbers. I think his floor is pretty high. I expect a regression, but I don’t think it will be severe.

This is because there have been no indications that they’ll stop using him the way they have. As much as I love Sony, if his health becomes a concern – again – which it has in every season he has played since high school, they’ll definitely dial back his usage and rely on the vet. They want him healthy in December and January. And there is no team that is better at having their studs on the field during crunch time.

White has carved out his role and earned BB’s and TB’s trust. I don’t see an injury prone 2nd year player and a promising rookie (Harris), changing that too much.

Let his ADP keep falling. If you’re in .5 or full ppr, draft him.

I’m personally not drafting a glorified handcuff who gets zero goal line touches on one of the most frequent goal line running teams in the 4th/5th round. It isn’t just about returning 2017 or partially returning 2018 value. It’s about the opportunity cost of taking James White over some of the other players going in that ADP or after him. If you really want the patriots handcuff, you can take Harris 8 rounds later. Or if you want that type of role, take Breida and Pollard almost 5-6 rounds later. If you’re taking him in the 4th and 5th, you’re giving up RBs who can actually have a shot of leading their backfield in touches and scoring. He’s currently being drafted before:

Michel, Coleman, Sanders, Drake, Penny, Murray who are going 1-2 rounds later and all of whom I have outscoring him this year.

And for WRs, he’s going ahead of Boyd, Moore, Mike Will, Kirk, ARob who are WR2s with that Low WR1/high WR2 upside. All of whom I’d take over White.

And that also happens to be the sweet spot for high upside TEs this year with OJ Howard, Engram, HH all going at least a full round after white.

Hell, I’d even take Watson and Rodgers over him who are my QB1 and 3 respectively on the season and I never draft QBs early.

So sure it’s easy to say in a vacuum that James White’s floor isn’t as low as 2017 (which I disagree with) but when you actually step back and look at his ADP and the opportunity cost of drafting him over some of the guys above, it’s just a losing play imo. Especially when as of right now, Michel/Edelman are both going into the season healthy and with a 3rd round rookie RB also lying in waiting. When Michel and Edelman were both on the field last season, White was barely giving you 10 ppr per game and his upside will never be higher than Michel cause he will never lead that backfield in touches. To me he’s one of the easiest fades this season. Only one that’s easier to fade than him is probably Marlon Mack.

I’m not recommending that anyone draft him in the 4th / 5th round. I said we should let his ADP fall, which it should, and draft him where it lands.

As always, you make good points, Mike (and I think Mack will regress, too).

It’ll be VERY interesting to see how it plays out!

There’s definitely ALWAYS an ADP a player is worth it. For me, James White would need to drop to the 8th/9th for me to start considering him. The main reason being that my drafting philosophy might be a bit diff.

In the 1st 1-3 rounds, I’m going for safety. Guys who I know will produce for my team that have great floors and hopefully nice upside as well.

But after that in rounds 4-6, I’m going for upside. Guys who have a decent floor but if things go their way return huge upside for me. And that just isn’t James white. And re Mack, I tweeted this out a few weeks back which is when I started dumping Mack shares but his splits are frightening. People ecomplain about Derrick Henry but Mack is just a less talented Henry on a better offense which may no longer be the case if Luck is hurt for any amount of time.

Mack 2018 PPR PPG splits:

Colts lead by >10 points (6 games): 21 ppg
Colts lead by <10 points (6 games): 8.68 ppg

Before Luck injury, colts were favored in 9/16 games and by more than 7 points in only 4/16 games. I don’t know about you but without Luck, those numbers all plummet. I want no part of Mack at his current cost given he is the most game script dependent RB in the league.

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Word. No doubt, every player is draft-worthy at a certain ADP, but Mack’s off my board until a major slide occurs, or further notice on Luck. Same with T.Y.

How do you feel about Aaron Jones this year? I’m pretty high on him, but I’m totally aware of the reasons why some think he’ll regress from last year’s efficiency after becoming the starter.

You are speaking to the A Jones truther. Been the President, Vice President, and Fan girl all at once since going back to the 2017 offseason. I am #allaboard. He is finally healthy to start the season and a participant in training camp. With him, it’s all about health. And here’s where I disagree with most analysts…I DON’T want A Jones to get workhorse workload of 25 touches a game.

He has proven that all he needs is a stable 16-18 touches a game to produce top 6 RB numbers which is exactly what he did last season when he got the touches. He clearly struggles with health and if they run him out there 20 times a game, he’s going to get hurt. I don’t want him in there for those crappy short yardage situations. You want him fresh. He’s like a Kamara but not as good of a pass catcher. And LaFleur already talking about getting RBs more involved in the passing game and Jones is actually pretty damn good as a catcher too. So I am hoping they give him like 60% workload about 16-18 touches a game with about 3-4 targets a game and use J Will or D Will on the less efficient touches. That would be my dream.

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We are of like mind on Aaron Jones. You’ll find this message board littered with my advocacy for him this year.

Ok it’s time to get on here and defend my mans. Can’t let the White disrespect go too far, not when this thread has my good name stamped on it

I don’t understand why people feel the need to project regression where they feel like regression “is supposed to” occur even though there isn’t much to prevent White from doing almost exactly what he did a year ago. I understand that he most likely won’t rush for 5 touchdowns again. There are mechanisms in place that will likely restrict White’s red zone carries this season.

BUT let the record show that after the Patriots drafted Sony Michel, White’s carries more than doubled, and that was with Rex Burkhead (who’s playing his way out of a job) and Cordarrelle Patterson (not on the team) eating up 99 carries. I don’t expect White to carry the ball more than last year, because I expect that Harris will eat into most of Burkead’s, some of White’s and all of Patterson’s carries, while Sony yet again stays at about 200-220 carries (slightly less than a workhorse). But you’re telling me this extremely talented Swiss Army knife who’s a top-10 dual threat RB in the league just isn’t going to matter as much this year?

Like it or not, White is going to carry the ball. His carries have gone up every season and he’s been very effective with those touches. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his carries only dip slightly, which will tick Sony and Harris owners off, but it’s the way the Patriots have always run their offense. He’ll get a couple rush TDs too.

MOST IMPORTANTLY. WHO ELSE IS CATCHING THE FOOTBALL? Do we expect N’Keal Harry to roll out of bed and catch 80 passes? Great dynasty asset, and he’ll put up highlights, but he’s a rookie WR and I expect him to take awhile to get comfortable in one of the most complex offensive schemes ever devised. JAMES WHITE is the other wide receiver in this offense. I’m having a hard time seeing a reality where White doesn’t at LEAST get back to his 87 receptions last year, which was fewer only than Christian McCaffrey among RBs. I could see a path to 100 this season, because Harry, Mo Harris and Jakobi Meyers aren’t moving the needle enough for me, fantasy-wise (excited to watch them though). If we’re playing PPR (which we all are at this point) then I cannot understand where the hesitation is coming from. Not enough upside? 100-catch potential is upside. The Patriots offense is upside. Being Tom Brady’s favorite weapon is upside. RB7 LAST YEAR IS UPSIDE.

Don’t get that twisted as me saying he’ll be RB7 again, but I don’t understand why he’s fallen so far off the map to the point where he can be compared to Tevin Coleman and Rashaad Penny as a fantasy asset. He gets the redzone touches (12th most among backs last year). He’s still looking for his big payday. He’s only missed 4 games in the last 4 years. And he’s the only one in that backfield that can catch a pass. I’ll believe in the Sony “7 receptions” Michel splitting out wide hype when I see it consistently in a real game.

Anyway, that’s the beauty of fantasy I guess. Everyone interprets the stats in their own way and then whoever’s better at it wins. I’m not saying to upend your draft board to get White. I’m loving watching him fall and then I get him way lower than where I value him. I’m just saying you should be doing that too because I can’t see why he’s such a black hole this year.

Are you expecting Edelman to not play? James white and Edelman overlap in types of targets they get. Harry is the same. And you have reports from camp that Sony is getting involved as well. In the 3rd part of that series I cover this a bit but even if Harris and Sony cut 2 targets into whites production, you’re looking at RB4 production for white. I don’t see how White could possibly get close to what he had last year.

James White was RB7 in the 4 weeks while Edelman was out. He was RB8 the rest of the way. The two can coexist, and if Patterson’s short targets are gone (as well as most of Burkhead’s hopefully) then I think he’ll be able to stay the course. Plus you have to consider that this year’s target share won’t be the same as last year. Brady might have to throw it shorter more often out of necessity if Gordon never returns and the newbies disappoint.

Your RB8 stat is incredibly misleading as I’ve already shown as most of that came without Michel. You said who else is going to get the targets and the answer is Edelman and harry will get targets along with whatever other WR they decide to use. Harris will also get work taken from both white and Michel. And Michel will also get worked into the receiving game as camp has shown. He was a more than capable receiver out of the backfield. Burkhead was absolutely not a factor last year so banking on him being out really doesn’t add much.

I also think that passing volume for the patriots as a whole will decrease. Without Gronk, pats adapt. Bill is the best at adapting to the situation and if you look at what happened in the playoffs, they just fed Michel all day to run the clock against other elite offenses. There are so many directions that White’s volume share will be compressed.

And White getting carries is not that valuable at all because the most valuable carries come on the goal line. With Michel playing, White got zero goal line carries. ZERO. Patriots backs that perform score TDs and majority of Whites TDs from last year came from outside of the redzone. Obviously, that is a massive area for regression.

I’m not so sure about that. He was tied for 12th in redzone touches last year, with Sony already being one of the 11 ahead of him. I still think White and Michel can be heavily used in the red zone at their respective abilities, so even if White isn’t pounding it in from the 1 he’ll still rack up a respectable TD total. Maybe not quite double digits like last year, but 8? I think that’s well within the realm of possibility.

Redzone is not the same thing as goal line. Red zone touches for RBs is actually not very correlated with TDs at all. You want carries within the 10 yards, or 5 yards or goal line. Each step you move up more than doubles the conversion for TDs. After Michel took over, White laid a goose egg in the goal line department. White had 2 carries within 5 yards the entire season, both of which came without Michel. After that, he had the same number as Burkhead did. Burkhead actually ended the year with more cause he got 1-2 in the playoffs where White again, laid a goose egg.

Where are you getting 8 from? He has only exceeded 6 TDs in a season once in his entire career, which was last year when all the perfect storm of injuries/situations had to happen for him to achieve that. Everyone thinks his floor is RB2. His floor is much closer to RB3/4. 8 is a ceiling for White imo, not a middle ground. Will be lucky if he sees 6.

But that’s the thing. White’s basically a receiver in this offense, he’s not just getting low-percentage rushes from the 15 with Sony taking over at the goal line.

He had 9 targets inside the 10 last season (11th most among all players and more than Davante Adams)
He had 22 targets inside the 20 (9th most)

His 7 TDs on receptions inside the 20 was about on par with the guys who had the same number of red zone targets, so his conversion percentage shouldn’t decrease too much. That’s why I’m thinking he can push to approach 10 total TDs again

UNRELATED NOTE: Maybe don’t draft Eric Ebron this year. You talk about a guy that WILL regress man oh man

Totally agree with you that he is more receiver than running back but at the same time, you absolutely cannot compare him equally to real elite WRs. And I think those stats you listed is more cause for concern and regression. Not something that supports White going forward. A lot of those targets came in the 1st half of the year when again, the patriots offense was lacking some of the key players. In fact if you look at Edelman’s stats, that’s exactly what it shows. Edelman had 20 red zone targets last year and he played in 4 less game than white. They also added harry. Although you seem to think he won’t have an impact cause he’s a rookie, anyone who watched Harry’s film in college would know that won’t be the case. He is absolutely elite at the catch point and in contested catches and I fully expect him to see work in the red zone, again eating into white’s work. I am not at all going into the season expecting white to be top 10 in red zone targets again.

The other thing you’re assuming by directly comparing James White’s red zone targets to someone like Adams or Nuk or OBJ is that they are of equal value. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. And looking at ADoT reveals this simple truth. When James white gets a target within the 20 or 10 yard line, VERY rarely is it a pass going into the endzone. More like to be a dump off and for him to score, he has to beat the odds and run it in or hope for a busted defense. Which happened multiple times last season. Whereas when Adams or Nuk gets a target from the 10 yard line, it’s not a dumpoff, it’s a pass going to them in the endzone. This is evident when you take a look at ADoTs of other top red zone targets vs White:

RZ Targets / ADoT

Adams: 31 / 11.3
JJSS: 29 / 8.4
MT: 29 / 7.8
Ertz: 27 / 7.2
Kelce: 26 / 9.5
Nuk: 25 / 12.2
AB: 24 / 11.4
OBJ: 20 / 12.3
.
.
.
.
James White … 22 / 3.3

Even the TEs and low ADoT WR targets are worth more than 2x any target James White gets. So fact is those 22 red zone targets are incredibly overflating his value and actual work he gets in red zone. And last year, he was lucky to score on those dumpoffs and expecting him to repeat that again this year would be going against probability and simple regression. Not something I’m even remotely betting on.