One of the top rookie running backs in the NFL and fantasy football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Rachaad White projects to be an early pick once again as his 2022 fantasy outlook rivals the top players in the game. With the NFL season and fantasy drafts closing in, what is White’s fantasy outlook in 2022, and could he prove to be valuable at his current ADP?
Rachaad White’s fantasy outlook for 2022
White has the skills which should translate to the NFL almost immediately. Truth be told, he was one of my first draft crushes of this class, as his film is littered with exciting, highlight-worthy plays both as a rusher and as a receiver for Arizona State.
White rushed for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns on 183 carries (5.5 ypc) this past season. Adding to his résumé, he caught 43 of 48 targets for 456 yards and another score. His 16% target share was the second-highest in the 2022 class. Accounting for 1.97 yards per team play in his two seasons, White was one of the more impactful RBs in the Pac-12.
His second gear is fantastic and gives him home-run speed once in the open field (4.48 40-yard dash). White’s contact balance is the only major concern I have for him, but in the open space, plus with the help of coaches, this should improve. Still, a guy his size (6’0″ and 214 pounds) shouldn’t go down as quickly as he did at times.
White will not come in and steal the job away from Leonard Fournette. However, he can come in and be a productive backup that can earn more reps in a prove-it-and-earn-it style offense where you have to be perfect. As a depth piece on your roster, White is a great asset to add in 2022 and should find fantasy value relatively quickly.
How the Buccaneers’ depth chart impacts Rachaad White’s fantasy projection for the season
Outside of a handful of teams, White would be competing for a starting job. It just so happened he landed in Tampa during the 2022 NFL Draft. He is sharing a backfield with one of the true three-down-workhorse RBs, a dying breed in today’s game.
From Weeks 4-14, Fournette played less than 61% of the team’s snaps in only two games. Over that same stretch, he averaged 19.7 touches and 103 total yards per game as the RB5 in fantasy. Fournette also led all running backs in targets (63) and was fourth in receiving yards (344).
He was sensational last year as the RB6 overall and RB4 in points per game at 18.3. What makes this even more astonishing is that this happened on a team that led the NFL in pass rate (67%), but the league-leading tempo really pushed him over the top.
Beyond Fournette, though, it’s much easier for White. Giovani Bernard is a third-down passing outlet for Tom Brady. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is also there but has a grand total of 71 touches over two seasons despite the third-round draft capital.
What I do want to mention is the offensive line, as they decide how effective a running back can be. It was a strength of the Buccaneers, but injuries to center Ryan Jensen, right tackle Tristan Wirfs, a scare with lineman Robert Hainsey, plus a season-ending ACL/MCL injury to guard Aaron Stinnie have shaken this depth chart up. We don’t even know yet if Jensen is out for the year, either. I do think the unit will end up in a decent spot, but they might not be as dominant as they have been.
White’s ADP for 2022
With an ADP of 193, White is coming off the boards as the RB56 in PPR formats at the moment, placing him in the 16th round in 12-team fantasy leagues.
In PFN’s 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings, White is the RB51 but is much higher overall as the 128th-ranked player. I’m very close in my rankings to PFN’s consensus, as I have White as the RB50 and 133rd overall player. Be sure to check back, as rankings will fluctuate between now and the start of the season.
While it is for sure Fournette’s backfield, White is the primary handcuff and could have some standalone value should the Buccaneers either spell Fournette to keep him fresh for a playoff push or as a receiving back, taking over the role held by Bernard.
At the same time, odds are the only RB worth starting weekly is Fournette, simply because of the volume we expect him to see. Fournette’s also far better in pass pro, meaning he will see the bulk of passing snaps on first or second down especially.
Still, I like drafting White as an upside RB pick in the later rounds, where those can be few and far between. It just takes one unfortunate injury to Fournette for White to become a bonafide league-winner.