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Roddy White Is A Future Fantasy Stud

Were you one of the many fantasy owners who had elected to stay 10 miles away from Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White on draft day? I’m not criticizing your decision; there were plenty of legitimate reasons to pass on the fourth-year pro at the time. Were you worried about White playing in what we thought would be a heavy run-first offense under the direction of a new offensive coordinator? Were you worried about White catching passes from rookie quarterback Matt Ryan? Were you worried about the talented White facing constant double-teams? Were you worried that White’s outstanding 2007 season was just a fluke? Were you having doubts about White because he had supposedly “prevented” former

Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick from becoming an elite passer? Unless you’re a Vick apologist, feel free to laugh at that one. Were you leery of drafting any player from a Falcons team that was horrible in 2007?

 

On the other hand, were you one of the many fantasy owners who had “settled” for White on draft day? You probably weren’t happy with the pick at the time. Let me guess: You needed a wide receiver, and White represented the best available value on your cheat sheet. Guess what? Heading into Week 9, White ranks No. 5 (tie) in the league in receptions (43), No. 3 in receiving yardage (679), No. 2 (tie) in touchdowns (five) and No. 4 in total targets (76), so you’re obviously very happy now about owning White. Unless you’re in a league full of idiots, you won’t find White on the waiver wire. However, keep him in mind when you prepare for your 2009 drafts. It is my opinion that we are currently watching the rise of a true elite fantasy receiver.

 

Roddy’s Football Résumé

 

Sharod “Roddy” Lamor White was born November 2, 1981, in James Island, South Carolina. He played college football at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

 

Roddy White – COLLEGE CAREER

RECEIVING

RUSHING

YEAR

REC

YARDS

AVG

TD

LNG

ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

LNG

2001

14

236

16.9

2

52

0

0

0.0

0

0

2002

39

580

14.9

3

54

0

0

0.0

0

0

2003

39

844

21.6

7

95

1

17

17.0

0

17

2004

71

1,452

20.5

14

67

0

0

0.0

0

0

TOTALS

163

3,112

19.1

26

—-

1

17

17.0

0

—-

 

White earned second-team All-Conference USA honors as a junior (2003). During his senior season (2004), he led the country in receiving yardage, ranked No. 3 nationally in yards per catch and notched six 100-yard receiving games, earning All-Conference USA first-team honors and a selection to the Associated Press third-team. The Falcons selected White with their first-round pick (No. 27 overall) in the 2005 National Football League draft.

 

Roddy White

ATLANTA FALCONS

REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

YEAR

AGE

G

GS

REC

YDS

AVE

TD

LNG

2005

24

16

8

29

446

15.4

3

54

2006

25

16

5

30

506

16.9

0

55

2007

26

16

15

83

1,202

14.5

6

69

2008

27

7

7

43

679

15.8

5

70

 

Coming out of college, the 6-foot, 208-pound White was recognized for his superior athletic prowess, speed and hands. However, he supposedly lacked consistency, and there were questions about his toughness over the middle. His first NFL season was obviously unimpressive from a statistical perspective, but we all know that it’s common for rookie receivers to struggle. White notched three scores and one 100-yard receiving game, but he failed to top the 65-yard receiving mark in any other contests.

 

In 2006, White’s numbers ticked up a bit, but he topped 90 yards receiving in just three games and failed to find the end zone during the entire regular season. Many Falcons fans and some in the organization had already concluded that White was a bust. Looking back now, however, it’s obvious that White’s development had been severely hindered, because (1) he was not getting the ball enough due to Vick’s inconsistent, erratic passing, and (2) the club did not utilize a bona fide downfield passing attack.

 

Although the 2007 campaign was a frustrating and tumultuous one for his team, the gifted White finally lived up to his vast potential, enjoying a breakout season. Vick, as you probably remember, was booted off the team after his arrest in connection with running a dog fighting ring. That entire fiasco left a dark cloud lingering over the Falcons organization. During his first and only season with

Atlanta, now-former head coach Bobby Petrino installed a spread offense that he had utilized when he coached the Louisville Cardinals. Petrino’s attack relied on the use of three and sometimes four wide receivers with a between-the-tackles running game. The Falcons, however, had to throw frequently, because they lacked a true power runner and trailed frequently in games. Despite catching passes from career journeymen quarterbacks Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich and Chris Redman, White established himself as one of the NFC’s top receivers. He racked up five 100-yard receiving games and topped the 60-yard receiving mark in five others while becoming the first

Atlanta wide receiver since 1999 to amass at least 1,000 yards receiving in a season. White’s 1,202 receiving yards ranked No. 8 in the league at the end of the campaign. It’s kind of ironic that White owes his breakout season to three average-at-best passers and an offense run by a former head coach that almost all Falcons players had despised.

 

White’s Fantasy Forecast

 

There is no question that White has picked up where he left off in 2007:

 

Roddy White – 2008 REGULAR SEASON STARTS

 

OPPONENT

RESULT

REC

YDS

AVE

TD

Week 01

Detroit

W, 34 – 21

2

54

27.0

0

Week 02

@

Tampa

Bay

L, 09 – 24

4

59

14.8

0

Week 03

Kansas City

W, 38 – 14

5

119

23.8

1

Week 04

@Carolina

L, 09 – 24

7

90

12.9

0

Week 05

@Green Bay

W, 27 – 24

8

132

16.5

1

Week 06

Chicago

W, 22 – 20

9

112

12.4

1

Week 07

BYE

—–

Week 08

@Philadelphia

L, 14 – 27

8

113

14.1

2

 

PER-GAME AVERAGES

6

97.0

15.8

0.71

 

White obviously got off to a slow start, but that was to be expected with the rookie Ryan throwing him passes. Since Week 5 (three games played), White has averaged eight receptions for 119 yards and 1.33 touchdowns per contest. If you project White’s current per-game averages over a full 16-game schedule, you come up with 97 catches for 1,555 yards and 11 touchdowns. Although it’s not realistic to expect a receiving yardage total that high, the reception and scoring projections are attainable for White.

 

Here is

Atlanta’s

remaining schedule:

 

DATE

WEEK #

OPPONENT

RANK VERSUS THE PASS

Nov. 02

Week 09

@Oakland

19

Nov. 09

Week 10

New Orleans

27

Nov. 16

Week 11

Denver

28

Nov. 23

Week 12

Carolina

9

Nov. 30

Week 13

@San Diego

32

Dec. 07

Week 14

@New Orleans

27

Dec. 14

Week 15

Tampa

Bay

7

Dec. 21

Week 16

@Minnesota

20

Dec. 28

Week 17

St. Louis

26


White has clearly become a must-start player. With seven favorable matchups and two tougher ones remaining (although I don’t think the

Carolina pass defense is as good as its current rating), White should continue to produce strong fantasy numbers for the rest of the season. Should you trade White? I wouldn’t. However, if you have needs on your team and can spare White, you have a right to ask for a king’s ransom in exchange for him. Should you trade for White? If you need receiver help, give it a shot. However, don’t expect to acquire White for cheap.

 

In the title of this article, I stated that White is a future fantasy stud receiver, and I stand by that opinion. Why?

 

1.

   

White is one of the most talented wide receivers in the league.

 

2.

   

White is the No. 1 big-play guy in the Falcons passing game.

 

3.

   

Enemy defenses expect White to be the focus of the

Atlanta passing attack, but they still can’t stop him consistently.

 

4.

   

White has the talented, albeit young Ryan throwing him the football. Ryan looks like he has Pro Bowl potential and should continue to improve.

 

5.

   

The Falcons defense will be a work-in-progress for at least the next two years and will struggle to stop enemy offenses. Ryan should have to throw frequently to keep the team competitive in games, which obviously bodes well for White.

 

Bottom line – White should be considered a Top 10 fantasy receiver now and heading into the 2009 season. My final thought: Many of you surely remember when quarterback Peyton Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He started during his rookie season, just like Ryan is. Manning quickly developed some strong on-the-field chemistry with a then-little known wide receiver named Marvin Harrison, and you know what happened with that duo. I’m getting a Manning/Harrison vibe from Ryan/White. In my humble opinion, the duo of Ryan and White has the potential to be just as productive as Manning/Harrison in the years to come.

 

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