James White is back with the Patriots this season, and he should continue to work as the passing-downs back in a committee backfield. Damien Harris, Sony Michel or potentially rookie Rhamondre Stevenson will handle most of the carries, but White should get the chance for his seventh year in a row with at least 40 catches. Now, he was typically a 55-plus catch guy with Tom Brady under center, and he could still be in that range with Cam Newton. White is a good PPR running back to draft with a mid- to late-round pick, and he's only a late-round flier in non-PPR leagues. Hopefully, the 7.7 PPR points per game he averaged in 2020 improves closer to the 13.3 range, which is what he averaged per game in 2019.
White agreed Wednesday with the Patriots on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. White will be returning to New England for an eighth season in 2021 after reaching unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. Since being drafted in the fourth round in 2014, the 29-year-old has established himself as a reliable pass-catching option out of the Patriots' backfield. This past season, White recorded 35 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 49 catches on 62 targets for 375 yards and a receiving score in 14 games. While those numbers were down a bit from recent years, White could see an uptick in production in 2021, given the probability that New England's passing attack will improve due to offseason upgrades in personnel.
White is expected to re-sign with New England, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. White has yet to finalize a deal with the Patriots, but he appears set to do so in the near future. The 29-year-old is expected to reprise his role as New England's top pass-catching back, though it's a far less valuable role in the post-Tom Brady era.
White finished the 2020 season with 35 carries for 121 yards and two TDs and 49 catches on 62 targets for 375 yards and a receiving score in 14 games. White's rushing and receiving production both dipped in a season in which the Patriots offense, in particular on the passing side, took a step back, as the team moved on from long-time starting QB Tom Brady. Looking ahead, it's hard to get a read on White's 2021 fantasy outlook, as the one-time PPR stalwart is eligible to become a free agent this offseason. If the 28-year-old does re-sign with New England, a plausible outcome, it remains to be seen who the team's QB will be next season, given that Newton is also on track to become a free agent.
White rushed four times for 14 yards and caught all three of his targets for 23 yards in Monday night's 38-9 loss to the Bills. White's production wasn't anything special, but he at least ranked second among New England's tailbacks with seven touches, trailing only Sony Michel and his 10. Notably, rookie J.J. Taylor gained 38 yards on his six carries and perhaps earned more totes if Damien Harris (ankle) remains sidelined in Week 17 versus the Jets. In White's favor could be the fact that Jarrett Stidham replaced Cam Newton at quarterback in the third quarter Monday. If Stidham were to start Sunday against New York, a more pass-centric offense could prefer White's skill set compared to his peers, perhaps boosting his value to close out the campaign.
White collected three yards over a pair of carries, adding four receptions for 52 yards during Sunday's 22-12 loss to the Dolphins. Sony Michel (10 carries) garnered the majority of the Week 15 RB rushing opportunities as Damien Harris (ankle) sat out, while White characteristically filled a notable pass-catching role. The 28-year-old was in the midst of a production slump coming into the weekend, with only five catches for two yards over his preceding three appearances. The 52-yard performance from White marks his third-highest receiving total of the season, but an approaching Week 16 matchup against Buffalo causes reason for pause, as the division rivals have allowed just one RB receiving touchdown all season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/19||@New York Jets||20||18.00|
|3||09/26||New Orleans Saints||2||13.00|
|4||10/03||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||12.30|
|7||10/24||New York Jets||20||18.00|
|8||10/31||@Los Angeles Chargers||14||16.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||65||270||3||69||590||4||128|