Rachaad White‘s first year with the starting role as running back in Tampa Bay Buccaneers was one to remember. After being the second in command to Leonard Fournette throughout the 2022 season, White was able to display his true talent by being named the starter of the 2023 season. However, he would be asked to perform with quarterback, Baker Mayfield. Finishing at the top of the division going 9-8, and making a playoff run was something we would not expect when switching quarterback from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield and losing your starting running back. However, Rachaad White has proved himself that he can be a valuable asset to any team and is worth considering in your fantasy lineups. Despite him making the list of Scariest Dynasty Assets there are reasons to buy and to sell the Bucs rusher.
REASONS TO BUY
Rachaad White received 272 touches on the ground in the 2023 season which ties him with Christian McCaffrey for 2nd and behind Derrick Henry who had 280 attempts. This means that he is averaging 16 carries a game. These stats just show that the Buccaneers have faith in the young running back and are giving him more and more chances to produce. And in terms of fantasy… More Opportunity = More Points. With these 272 carries, he was able to rack up 990 yards, just a few short of 1000. He averages 3.8 yards per carry which is not too high compared to other running backs but with the increase in attempts, this number is expected to fluctuate. When given the true opportunity to succeed he capitalizes. In Week 10 against the Houston Texans, he was given 20 attempts at running the ball and was able to rack up 73 yards, two touchdowns, and 46 yards in the air… If you did the math, that’s 27.9 fantasy points.
Not only does Rachaad White run extremely well, but he has also proven to have a large receiving upside. He finished 4th in the 2023 season with 70 targets. He finished with more than running backs like Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, Tony Pollard, Travis Etienne, and Isaiah Pacheco who are all considered better fantasy value running backs. White has built quite the rapport with Baker and will look to increase further upon that no matter who is under center. Along with these 70 targets he averaged 8.6 yards a reception and had a season long of 43 yards. He also averaged 32.3 receiving yards per game which puts him as a top-five running back in that category for the 2023 season. That puts him in an elite-level running back tier. The next tier is averaging around 28.6 yards per game which is a large drop-off. Considering some of those running backs like Bijan Robinson saw double digits more targets Rachaad White showed he was elite.
Trusting Coach Staff
It is quite unheard of that a second-string running back gets the starting position and then almost leads the league in rush attempts. It is clear here that the Buccaneers have faith in Rachaad White to produce and will continue to facilitate the ball through him. One person in particular who is familiar with having to produce stud running backs is head coach Todd Bowles. Prior to landing a head coaching job with the Bucs, he worked with the New York Jets as a head coach, the Arizona Cardinals as a Defensive Coordinator, and the Philadelphia Eagles as a defensive coordinator. In particular in 2015 when Todd went to the Jets as a head coach he was met with running back Chris Ivory. In 2014, the year before Todd Bowles joined, Chris Ivory ran for 821 yards on only 198 attempts but still managed 6 touchdowns. He also only had 18 receptions on 27 targets scoring 1 touchdown and having 123 yards. However, when Todd Bowles signed as head coach, his stats changed drastically. Todd knew early that Chris was special and decided to utilize him more. In 2015 Chris Ivory received 247 attempts and managed to get 1,070 yards and scored 7 touchdowns. He also then had 30 receptions on 37 targets for 217 yards. It is clear that when Todd realizes talent he knows how to utilize it. Todd himself said recently about Rachaad White,
“You can’t say enough about his growth. You could see it as the weeks went on, as the months went on. I’m very proud of where he is”.
REASONS TO SELL
Loss of Offensive Coordinator
Signed in February of 2023, Dave Canales was hired as the Buccaneer’s new offensive coordinator. He was able to transform the offense despite losing key players like Tom Brady and Leanord Fournette and has shown to be a key coach on this team. However, Canales was offered a head coaching position with the Carolina Panthers and now the Buccaneers are in the process of finding a new offensive coordinator. Whoever has this job will no doubt have an impact on Rachaad White’s production and it is definitely something to monitor. Based on recent information, the good news about this is that the Buccaneers for the time being are looking for an internal coach to take this interim position. This means that White and this said coach would have a little prior knowledge of each other which could prove to work out.
Although Rachaad White almost leads the league in attempts, his numbers don’t prove to be as efficient. White averaged 3.6 yards per carry on the ground and only scored 6 touchdowns. These 6 touchdowns rank White 16th overall among running backs which is quite low considering the amount of times he runs the ball. Not to mention the fact that his 3.6 yards per carry don’t even make the top 25 where the 25th player (Tony Pollard) averaged 4 yards per carry. These numbers explain why through the season he only averaged 12.4 fantasy points a game. Along with low fantasy production, he also is not too efficient on the ground. In only seven games White had less than 40 yards on the ground and among these games, he averaged 12.7 carries.
Prior to the 2023 season, Baker Mayfield had only signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers when Tom Brady retired. Now that the season is over, the quarterback position is in the air, and uncertainty if Baker will return. Baker recently said,
“‘ It all just kind of depends. Obviously Tampa, we’re going through a little bit of an OC search right now. It’ll start there. They were the first ones that gave me a chance, and [I’m] thankful for them. We’ll see. Taking it one day at a time”.
It is clear that Baker is going to heavily weigh in on the decision of the OC position and could determine where he ends up next. This will affect White substantially because he has built a reputation with his quarterback and will have to start over if that spot is to be filled up by someone else. Along with Baker, Mike Evans‘ contract has also ended and he will become a free agency. If Evans were to play elsewhere this could mean there is less passing and opposing defenses can stack the box against Rachaad White further lowering his yards per carry.
Considering that Rachaad White has been averaging 16 carries a game and is receiving plenty of touches, I believe his production will only increase from here. Continue to monitor the status of Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator, Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans as it could impact the production of White for the better or worse. All in all, however, he has proven to be a reliable back in fantasy and is worth taking into consideration in your drafts.
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