Spotlight: Roddy White
posted by Will Grant on Aug 6th
Will Grant's thoughts
Roddy White has been a consistent fantasy stud at wide receiver for the last four seasons. The Falcons have never had a legitimate WR2 to line up on the opposite side of the field from him, and that translates into a huge number of targets every year. Running the ball behind Michael Turner also helps keep defenses honest, and White has taken advantage of that for several years now. As far as fantasy wide receivers go, White is as close to a sure thing as you expect.
Set it and Forget It
I'll probably jinx if for sure, but how can you not like a wide receiver that shows up every week year after year. White hasn't missed a game in seven seasons, and for a guy who gets 8+ targets a game, the more games that he's playing in, the more opportunities he is going to have. He's definitely a guy that you can draft and cement into your starting lineup.
In 2007, White had a break-out season, posting 137 targets, 83 receptions for 1200 yards and six TDS. His targets have steadily increased since then, culminating in a whopping 191 targets and 100 receptions last season. His yards per catch took a bit of a hit these last few years, but the sheer volume of targets has kept him producing to 10 fantasy WR numbers. He's had 29 TD receptions over the last three seasons as well, making him a solid fantasy producing player week after week.
When Julio Comes to Town
Lack of a solid WR2 has most certainly contributed to White's performances over the last several seasons. With guys like Laurent Robinson, Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas lining up on the other side of the field, it's not a surprise to see the ball come to White multiple times a game. Even with the addition of tight end stud Tony Gonzalez, White still was the best receiver on the team.
2011 was a bit different though. The Falcons finally landed a solid receiver in the draft, picking up Julio Jones at #6 overall. Jones had legitimate big-play ability, and showed flashes of true star power at various points throughout the season. However, just when it looked like Jones might seriously cut into White's totals, a string of nagging injuries caused Jones to miss three games and he was obviously limited in several others. White remained the consistent performer and finished with another 100 reception season.
Giants and Steelers and Falcons. Oh MY!
To paraphrase a recent tweet from our own Sigmund Bloom: The days of thinking a team can't have more than one 1,000 yard receiver are gone. We saw it happen in Pittsburgh and New York last season, and it nearly happened in Green Bay, Dallas and Atlanta as well. With a full training camp under his belt, and a full season of experience, you can expect that Jones and White will both be over 1000 yards for the Falcons this season as well.
With Jones a full strength, you can expect him to stretch the field. White will play the underneath role where he'll rack up multiple catches per game, but his YPR may suffer a bit. Jones will be the deep guy who give defensive coordinators nightmares, and Tony Gonzalez will continue to exploit miss-matches in the middle of the defense. White will probably see an overall drop in targets and receptions, but still maintain a high level of production. He'll probably still pull in seven or eight balls a game, and still be a legitimate red-zone threat as well.
- Consistent, go-to guy that has been with the Falcons for seven seasons. Matt Ryan has always had White to throw to and he's going to keep looking for him again this season
- Never missed a game. White is a guy you can count on to play week after week
- Long string of 125+ target seasons. White will probably see a drop in looks, but he'll still produce solid numbers week after week
- Another year older and a long streak of consecutive games that could be broken on the wrong play. You never want to speculate on an injury, but for a guy like White, he's probably due
- Julio Jones is a legitimate stud at WR2 for the Falcons as well. He'll command 100 targets himself, and will probably produce more per reception than White
- Commitment to run is still present. Running backs like Michael Turner and Jaquizz Rodgers could definitely cut into any wide receiver's time. White is especially vulnerable due to his low YPR numbers
White is about as consistent as you can expect for a fantasy wide receiver. He doesn't miss game and continues to have a high number of targets week after week. He finds the end zone 8-10 times a season and will pull in close to 100 receptions for the year. While Julio Jones will certainly cut into his production, he might also draw some of the double-teams away from White, leading to increased productivity and retaining White's solid production. Last season was probably the high water mark, but you can certainly expect 90+ receptions again this season from White. Draft him as your WR1 and watch the points roll in.
Quotations from the message board threadTo view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.
Roddy White has been one of, if not the most, consistent WR in fantasy football over the last 5 seasons. The two primary concerns with White headed into 2012 are his age (30), and his primary competition for targets (Julio Jones). I don't think that either will keep him away from another top 5 season in PPR formats, however. White has certainly showed no real signs of slowing down, and while Julio Jones is a verifiable monster, that does not erase the outstanding rapport that White has with Matt Ryan. Many people point to Julio Jones' awesome stats while on the field in 2011, but what people don't realize is that down the stretch, it was not just Julio but the entire Falcons offense that was clicking. In fact, White posted 57/795/5 in the second half last year despite Julio's presence. I think Jones definitely gets his, but I'm feeling a big year for the Falcons offense.Blackjacks said:
This reminds me alot of the 2000 Rams situations with Bruce and Holt. Bruce had been the man for so long but Holts talent was undeniable that everyone waited for Holt to unseat Bruce as the teams #1. What you saw for a couple of years was the 2 compliment each other perfectly and put up great stats. In the long run I do think Julio could be great but I am not ready to appoint him yet as the teams #1.TheDirtyWord said:
Roddy White is still Matt Ryan's most trusted weapon. Even moreso than Tony Gonzalez. But it is clear that the Falcons passing game is about to change. And while Julio Jones has a lot to do with this...the more impactful reason for this shift away from Roddy will be because the Falcons will truly be a passing team first with Mike Mularkey having left.
Even if you say Julio Jones played in only 12 games, because he missed parts of 2 with an injury, Roddy outpaced Julio in targets 11.3 to 8. There is simply no way this target disparity will happen again. Even if it's a reduction of 1 target/game for Roddy White, that still represents 10 receptions lost. That's just related to losing targets to Julio. But add in the fact that the Falcons have talked a big game thus far as it relates to involving Jacquizz Rodgers more in the screen game and Harry Douglas in the slot...and the potential for an even steeper decline is there.
One thing to note - White had his worst stretch as a Falcons probably during the first half of the 2011 season. He uncharacteristically dropped passes he normally came down with and at times seemed distracted. For whatever reason, the Falcons insistence/desire to get the ball to Julio Jones early on in the season seemed to stick in White's craw a bit. When the best WR opposite you for your career is Michael Jenkins, it's easy to get used to being 'THE guy'. When the Falcons started targeting White more, he got the train back on track and played much better in the seasons second half. But the point is that he wasn't as efficient in 2011 as he had been previously IMO. He's talking like a guy who understands Julio's talent and the need to better distribute targets now and the hope for Falcons fans is that he'll maintain a level of reliability over 16 games in 2012 that he didn't in 2011 (but which he demonstrated in 2010). But I suspect he'll see 30-40 fewer targets in 2012 which while still meaning WR1 production, will not challenge the upper tier at this position.
Roddy White projections
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