Will Patriots’ James White outperform his ADP as RB31?

James White, New England Patriots. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
James White, New England Patriots. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Are we sleeping on James White as a fantasy football superstar again?

It will be a different year in New England Patriots football, but are there a few things we can still rely on? Would those things include Bill Belichick playing four-dimensional chess while lesser head coaches continue to play checkers? What about the secondary being top-tier as always? And what about if James White will continue to be a beast as a receiver out of the Patriots’ backfield?

The Fantasy Footballers assess White’s average draft position as RB31, or a sixth-round fantasy running back, and see if he will outperform it, hit it or fall short of it. Though we have seen him star as a pass-catcher out of the backfield before, keep in mind it will be Cam Newton throwing him the football this year and not Tom Brady. Will this matter in how White approaches his ADP?

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In a PPR league, White has tremendous value as a fantasy running back. He was as high as RB8 back in 2018. In three of the last four seasons, White has surpassed his current ADP of RB31. However, Newton is one of the least accurate short-ball throwers in the league today. Add in Newton’s inherent mobility and this could negatively impact White’s overall fantasy value.

Can you rely on James White as your RB2 on an otherwise stacked team?

The good news is White has been and will remain undervalued in fantasy football leagues for seemingly the rest of time. People view Sony Michel as the Patriots’ starting running back, given his high draft status out of the University of Georgia in 2018. However, White may not be as dominant in PPR leagues strictly on his lack of rapport with Newton as his quarterback.

So if you can draft him as your RB2 on an otherwise loaded roster, you can get away with it, as long as you nail your previous picks at quarterback, tight end and wide receiver. As stated before, White’s value comes almost exclusively from PPR, as well as his ability to factor as a red-zone back and in goal-line situations. He can make up for not having a ton of carries through the air.

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As for if he’ll outperform his ADP of RB31 in 2020, don’t bank on it. He may still be in the same offensive scheme under Josh McDaniels, but Newton could not be a more different style of quarterback than Newton. While other players could benefit from a fantasy standpoint with Newton as a Patriot, White is not very likely to be one of them. His fantasy stock is declining.