Roddy White: 2014 Fantasy Football Profile and Projection
Extremely durable and consistently productive are two phrases that have long been associated with Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. To a certain degree, however, it was his previous durability that hurt his productivity in 2013.
Before the 2013 season, White had never missed a regular-season game in his previous eight NFL seasons (2005 to 2012). Sustaining a high-ankle sprain in his second preseason game last year put his streak of 128 consecutive games played in jeopardy.
While I admire White's toughness to play in Week 1, he more than likely should have sat that game (and some subsequent games) out.
Through the first five games of the season, White was little more than a decoy as he felt the effects of his high-ankle sprain. In those games, White had 19, 21, 16, 28 and 45 receiving yards, respectively.
As the early season progressed, White either disappointed fantasy owners with a dud performance or at least confronted them with a dilemma: Is this the week he'd be more like the typical Roddy or will he disappoint again?
Again, it's respectable that White wanted to contribute to his team's success (even though they were struggling), but he was hurting — not helping — his fantasy team owners. Perhaps rest would have helped to speed up the healing process. At a minimum, owners wouldn't have started an inactive White, who otherwise seemed as though he was inactive.
With White struggling, teammate Julio Jones emerged as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. In fact, Jones nearly averaged as many yards per game as White had in those first five games combined (129).
During that stretch, Jones had 41 catches for 580 yards and two touchdowns. His 116.0 yards per game (YPG) blew away his previous YPG averages of 73.8 (2011) and 74.9 (2012) and led the NFL through Week 5. Of course, Jones suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 5 that required another surgery on his right foot, but he should be fine for the start of the 2014 season.
Perhaps compensating for his high-ankle injury, White suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for three games in the middle of the season. Finally healthy again down the stretch, White was dominant in the month of December even if it was too late for his fantasy owners.
White had a minimum of five catches and 53 yards in those five games and had eight-plus receptions in four of those five. In the month of December, only Cleveland's Josh Gordon (658) and Chicago's Alshon Jeffery (561) had more receiving yards than White (502) and only New England's Julian Edelman (44) had more catches than White (43).
Before last year's disappointment (or mostly disappointing season), White had a minimum of 83 receptions (2007) and 1,153 yards (2009) in his previous six seasons. Over the most recent three years before last season, White averaged a line of 102/1,345/8 per season.
With both Jones and White healthy in 2014, White can't approach those numbers again, right?
Although I'm not projecting 102/1,345/8, those numbers would not surprise me. With the (continued) retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had a line of 83/859/8 last year, there will be enough targets for both Jones and White to be top 12-15 fantasy receivers in 2014.
Some of those receptions and targets that would have gone to Gonzalez will go to new starting tight end Levine Toilolo, but there is little chance he comes anywhere near the 83 catches and 859 yards that Gonzo had in 2013.
One other thing that should bode well for the passing offense in general was the selection of Texas A&M's Jake Matthews with the sixth-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career-worst 44 times in 2013 after never being sacked more than 28 times in a season. A four-year starter, Matthews is a technically-sound, versatile lineman with Hall-of-Fame pedigree (his father is Bruce Matthews) that will start from Day 1.
Compared to his current average draft position (ADP) of 5.03 (WR22) per Fantasy Football Calculator, White is one of my favorite undervalued wide receivers in a position of depth. In many of my mock drafts, White has been a consistent target of mine in the fourth round as I load up on running backs early.
2014 Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Based on cumulative fantasy points allowed last year of their opponents this year, White and the Falcons wide receivers have the 10th-most difficult fantasy schedule.
2014 Stat Projection: 92 receptions, 1,196 yards, 8 TDs
Check out our 2014 fantasy football rankings:
- 2014 fantasy football quarterback rankings
- 2014 fantasy football running back rankings
- 2014 fantasy football wide receiver rankings
- 2014 fantasy football tight end rankings
- 2014 fantasy football cheat sheet
Good luck in your 2014 fantasy football leagues!