Arizona State RB Rachaad White has established himself as a name to remember for 2022 dynasty fantasy football managers. Following a successful collegiate career, what are White’s strengths, are there any injury concerns, and how did his landing spot impact his dynasty value in 2022 and beyond?
Rachaad White’s dynasty fantasy profile
Every year in the middle of winter, when the nights are long and cold, you watch a player on film, and it just warms your heart. They’re your first rookie love of the year. For me, that was Arizona State RB Rachaad White.
Playing at JUCO Mt. San Antonio College, White rushed for 1,264 yards and scored 10 times as a sophomore, becoming a three-star JUCO player before transferring to Arizona State. In 2020, while trying to establish himself and deal with the impact of a COVID-shortened season, White was limited to just 42 carries. However, he averaged 10.0 yards per carry, totaling 420 yards with 5 touchdowns. White added 151 more yards and a score on 8 receptions.
Then, in 2021, it was White’s time to shine as the Sun Devils’ top running back. Playing in 11 games, White rushed for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns on 183 carries (5.5 ypc). Adding to his résumé, he caught 43 of 48 targets for 456 yards with 1 more score. Accounting for 1.97 yards per team play in his two seasons, White was one of the more impactful RBs in the Pac-12.
Where does White fall in the 2022 RB class?
Listed at 6’2″ and 210 pounds, White did come in a touch smaller at the Senior Bowl at 6’0 1/2″. This isn’t anything new, but it’s noteworthy. Despite two years of playing time (one at a high level), White is 23 years old, which is a slight concern.
The top three RBs are locked in stone for me, with Isaiah Spiller, Breece Hall, and Kenneth Walker III making up the group. The RB4/5 of the 2022 rookie draft class is where the debate begins. White makes a compelling case to be the No. 4 RB selected in 2022 dynasty rookie drafts as an early-second-round pick.
If you desire versatility, White has you covered. His receiving stats indicate that he is an extremely comfortable pass catcher. At the Senior Bowl, White was a bit shaky, but I chalk that up to nerves more than anything. By midweek, he was winning 1-on-1 drills against LBs. Arizona State also utilized White in the slot, splitting him out on just over 10% of his passing downs.
White also has legitimate wheels. He isn’t overly explosive initially, but his second gear is fantastic and gives him home-run speed once in the open field (4.48 40-yard). His vision also aids his chances to make those big plays happen. He can identify leverage and daylight between the tackles and possesses solid peripheral vision, allowing him to make lateral cuts as the feet follow the eyes.
Making defenders whiff was something White did quite a bit. He has an elusiveness to his game and several tools in his arsenal to pull it off, including jump cuts, spins, and even a hurdle from time to time.
White also ran with solid patience. Whether it was zone or gap, White allowed his linemen to lead him to daylight and stayed off their backs. He’s a smooth runner when it comes to his footwork and style. The question is, does he have enough solid traits to make an NFL team love him? Honestly, I don’t know, but his draft capital will tell us a ton about White’s fantasy value in 2022 and beyond for dynasty.
Now, remember where I said White was my first love? Well, your first love is rarely your last — that ended up being part of the case. Watching White’s contact balance had me disappointed. White doesn’t bring a ton of pop to the fight for a back of his size. Far too often, he would be on the wrong side of a hit.
The bothersome part is how often White goes down to ankle-biters. Those tackles where a defender is going after you from the knees down. Rather than just slowing him down, these brought White down to the ground.
I don’t care if you run like Usain Bolt and move like Barry Sanders in the open field — none of that matters if you can’t survive first contact. Anything from the waist down tends to stop White in his tracks. He is a high- and tight-hipped runner, and it works against him when it comes to absorbing contact or being physical.
Speaking of physicality, White is not someone you want in pass protection. While I am not going to call him Chuba Hubbard, he’s not good. Sure, pass protection isn’t overly coached in college, but desire shows up on tape. The difference between him and Kyren Williams is staggering — but Williams is roughly 3 inches and 20 pounds smaller.
White’s injury history
Given his limited body of work, White has a clean bill of health. There were no injuries of note while in JUCO. White played in 15 of 17 possible games at ASU. He missed their game against USC due to a knee sprain he sustained against Washington State the week prior, but that comes with playing running back.
The only other game White missed in 2021 was Arizona State’s bowl game, as he opted out to focus on his NFL future. White doesn’t raise any red flags in terms of durability or injury history.
Rachaad White selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is an ideal landing spot for White at first glance when you look at the fit. Tampa Bay loves to get RBs in space and ideally utilizes them in the passing game. These are two areas in which White excels and should translate to the NFL level.
With Ronald Jones now with the Kansas City Chiefs, White slots into the No. 2 role, assuming he can beat Ke’Shawn Vaughn during camp. If he can’t, well, that’s about all we need to know about how his career might go.
The reason it is so imperative for White to secure the No. 2 role, and even some of the passing work is Leonard Fournette, who helped bring a title to the team, re-signed with the team on a three-year deal with $21 million. There is an opt-out in his contract after the 2023 season, but that is still two years away. Or half of White’s rookie contract.
On third down or in the two-minute warning, I still expect to see Giovani Bernard on the field early on, but there’s a chance White takes this role as the year progresses. Even if he just takes the role Jones once held, that’s in the range of 8-10 rushes a game. In games, Fournette misses, that jumped to 18 carries.
Add in White being a far superior passing back than Jones, and a 10-12 opportunity per-game outlook is in range for White. He’ll be an early second-round pick in upcoming rookie drafts.