Figuring Out James White’s Fantasy Value in a Crowded Backfield

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: James White
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: James White /

James White’s fantasy value still remains draftable as he enters his fourth season in the New England Patriots backfield. There’s plenty of names to consider when you think of Patriot running backs, but Tom Brady likes him catching passes.

When it comes to fantasy relevance in the New England backfield, any guess is a good one. James White’s fantasy value will be just as relevant as fourth year running back Mike Gillislee who they signed to a two-year $6.4 million deal.

White’s biggest rushing year didn’t come until last year and he only eclipsed 166 yards. He’s known for his role as a receiver though. He caught 60 passes last season for 551 yards and scored five touchdowns.

We all know what White did in the Super Bowl. Most Badger fans will tell you that he deserved to be MVP. He totaled 20 touches (14 catches, 6 carries) for 139 yards and three TD’s.

Now we’re talking fantasy. As always, New England will have a different featured back almost every week because that’s what Bill Belichick does.

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In addition to Gillislee and White, New England also has Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, D.J. Foster and Rex Burkhead. According to the SI top 300, the Patriot running backs to target this year will be Gillislee, White, Burkhead and Lewis. In that order.

Gillislee has been brought into New England to take over the LeGarrette Blount role. Blount scored 18 rushing touchdowns last year. He didn’t help PPR leagues at all, but 18 touchdowns is a lot. Don’t expect Gillislee to rack up that much, but he will be the goal line back.

That leaves us to predict a a pass catcher out of the New England backfield. Dion Lewis has gotten hurt more often than not. He has only played in 14 games in two season with New England. Lewis has also never played in all 16 games.

Tom Brady though seems to trust White as he averaged almost 4 catches a game and caught a crazy 14 in the Super Bowl. He also isn’t as injury prone as Lewis is.

James White’s fantasy value looks to be a nice flex fill off your bench in for PPR formats. Most fantasy websites agree with that. Here is where White ranks in popular fantasy football rankings for PPR format:

SI: 144

ESPN: 95

NFL: 131

CBS: 107

Yahoo: 129

ESPN has Jame White’s fantasy value as a late eighth round pick in a 12-team league. SI on the other hand says to wait until the 12th round to draft him. 10-team leagues should consider him somewhere around the 10th round. 8-team leagues could take him as a late round flier and anything less should keep him on waivers.

That’s for PPR only. PPR seems to be the more popular format these days because it’s higher scoring. The NFL has become more offensive heavy so fantasy football wants to add more points to their game.

In non PPR, James White’s fantasy value dips into the higher 100’s. He’s scored just 11 total touchdowns in his entire career. Only two have come on the ground which was in 2015. In addition to White catching 60 last year, he caught 40 two seasons ago. His receptions are going up nicely, but the rushing is staying the same.

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Look at James White’s fantasy value being a poor man’s Darren Sproles in non-PPR. In Eight and possibly 10-team non-PPR leagues, White should not be drafted. In a 12-team, 16 round, non-PPR, you could probably take a gamble and see how it works out.

If you’re comfortable with taking him right before your kicker and defense, go for it. You’re certainly not going to see the same points in non-PPR than you would in a PPR format.