Can We Trust Zamir White in Fantasy Football?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

Running backs is usually a position that fantasy managers clamor over year in and year out. With many NFL teams transitioning to two- or three-player backfields, finding a dominant running back with a large workload is only becoming more and more valuable.

Circling tailbacks who are entering an opportunity to be a three-down player is always a wise idea. The Las Vegas Raiders' running back room is the prime example of undergoing change following the departure of Josh Jacobs, who joined the Green Bay Packers.

Zamir White appears to be the beneficiary of Las Vegas' new-look backfield. However, we don't have that much data on the third-year back, as he had only 17 rushing attempts in his 2022 rookie season and didn't make a true impact until recording 104 carries last year.

FantasyPros' half-PPR average draft position (ADP) data has White as the 22nd running back selected. This ADP could be a potential steal if White can separate himself as the Raiders' clear top tailback.

Let's address the elephant in the room. Can White be trusted to take advantage of his golden opportunity in Vegas? Here's the third-year running back's fantasy football breakdown for the 2024 season.

Zamir White Fantasy Football Outlook

Assessing White 2023's Numbers

Before rolling the dice on White, we should take some time to learn about the third-year running back out of Georgia. He didn't have much of a role in 2022 as the rookie never totaled more than three carries in a game that season.

Last season gave White more opportunities to turn heads. The Raiders' offense was far from impressive, totaling the 10th-fewest points per game and the 6th-fewest yards each contest. The potential on this offense is a concern, but we will save that for later.

White was thrust into a starting role for the final four games of 2023 with Jacobs inactive. The Georgia product racked up a healthy 21.0 rushing attempts per game in that time paired with 99.3 rushing yards per contest -- good for an impressive 4.7 yards per rushing attempt.

The receiving work wasn't quite as exciting with 2.3 receptions per start paired with only a 15.0 receiving yards per game. Still, this was 23.3 touches per start.

That workload is about as good as it gets. In fact, if that was White's workload for the whole year, that would have been the most touches per game across the full 2023 season. Kyren Williams (21.7) and Christian McCaffrey (21.2) led the league in touches per game.

In limited action, White managed to post 0.32 rushing yards over expectation per carry (RYOE/c) compared to Jacobs' mark of -0.36. This alludes to an upgrade, but White had 104 attempts to Jacobs' 233 for the season.

It's easy to have some excitement about White's outlook when you look at his numbers late last season. This is the same team that produced Jacobs' overall RB3 season in 2022.

Can we expect a large workload for White, similar to Jacobs' previous role?

A Large Workload Demands Attention

The final four games of 2023 hint that White might be in store for a lot of work in 2024. However, we can't just assume that'll be the case, and the Raiders added Alexander Mattison in free agency.

Mattison had his chance to be the top back for the Minnesota Vikings in 2023, finishing as RB38 despite leading the team with 210 touches. At this point, Mattison looks to be a career backup.

White is familiar with the system and proved his worth late in 2023. The third-year tailback is in a great position to be the starter and may see a hefty workload.

Despite Vegas totaling the sixth-fewest carries per game as a team last year, Jacobs still had the third-most touches per game in the NFL (20.8). This is the kind of grinding demand that White can step into -- which is exactly what he did over Las Vegas' final four games in 2023.

The receiving game is another positive on the checklist. Jacobs had 2.8 receptions per game with 1.6 receiving yards over expectation (RecYOE), compared to White at 2.3 receptions in his starts and 0.9 RecYOE for the 2023 season.

Mattison posted 0.1 RecYOE with the Vikings in 2023, and I'm not worried about Mattison taking White's receiving potential. Las Vegas didn't use their backs that much in the receiving game last year, and White did a good enough job in the role late in 2023.

Aidan O'Connell was the starting QB for the homestretch last season. He is competing with Gardner Minshew for the first-string job. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported O'Connell could have the slight edge as of now.

If O'Connell starts, this only further points to another positive for White. He received a ton of work while O'Connell was starting. Either way, we shouldn't expect much from Vegas' QB play as O'Connell posted -0.08 expected points added per drop back (EPA/DB) in 2023 compared to Minshew's -0.04.

Zamir White Fantasy Football Projection

A good amount of evidence is pointing to a big role for White in 2024. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that he's a shoo-in to be a fantasy breakout.

Keep in mind that the Raiders were one of football's worst offenses in 2023, and this will likely carry over to the upcoming season.

numberFire's schedule-adjusted rankings have Las Vegas with the seventh-worst offense. The Raiders are among the bottom-10 units for both schedule-adjusted pass and run offenses. White's scoring opportunities could be like finding a needle in a haystack.

This was a major issue for Jacobs in 2023 as he reached only six touchdowns despite the heavy volume. One of the most demanding workloads in the league couldn't save him as Jacobs finished as the overall RB27 -- RB20 by points per game. That's not exactly the most promising sign for White.

numberFire's fantasy football projections have White finishing with the 19th-most points among running backs. The model is forecasting 18.0 touches, 65.4 rushing yards, 14.1 receiving yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Each mark feels very obtainable, and if Vegas gets back to 2022's identity -- which rewarded Jacobs with 12 rushing TDs -- White's stock will likely skyrocket.

There should be some worries surrounding White. He's a young RB with little experience, and frankly, we aren't sure how the Raiders' run game will look post-Jacobs. Maybe Mattison will steal a good amount of snaps and touches away from White.

But last season's small sample size of a large workload for White gives me enough confidence in him to take a shot at his current ADP. His projection as RB19 is pointing to good fantasy value considering his RB22 ADP.

These numbers are under the assumption that Las Vegas' offense will be well below average. If their offense surprises and scoring chances increase, look out for White rumbling to an impressive fantasy season.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.