The story of Kevin White is a tale of mystery, intrigue, and a whole lot of frustration. As he enters his third year in the NFL, White has played in four games and has amassed a grand total of 19 receptions for 187 yards and zero touchdowns. You don’t need to be a Fantasy expert to see that’s not a stat line to be excited about from the former number 7 overall pick.
The Fantasy Football Story Of Kevin White
The Story Thus Far
The prologue to White’s career sets the scene of a book everybody wanted to read. He took scouts, analysts, and fans by storm during his senior year at West Virginia with over 100 receptions, 10 touchdowns, and almost 1,500 yards. He furthered the hype with a stellar combine performance topped off by running the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. As the draft neared, he had supplanted himself as a top two receiver in the class, some even projecting him higher than pro-ready Alabama standout Amari Cooper. While Cooper went first off the board to Oakland with the fourth pick, White didn’t wait much longer to hear Chicago call his name.
Unlike most stories, White didn’t have a first chapter. Or more accurately, it was ripped out of the book before it was even written. He was sidelined for his entire rookie year with a stress fracture in his shin. The second chapter wasn’t much longer, White played just four games to start the year before losing the rest of the season to a fibula fracture.
Now we enter 2017 and his Fantasy value has never been lower. He was a top rookie pick in dynasty leagues in 2015 and considered by many to be a WR3 with upside in 2016. In 2017, most people won’t touch him as a top 50 receiver … who can blame them? Skeptics can say “I told you so” and believers are tired of feeling robbed. Instead of a beautifully written introduction that sets the stage for many elite chapters to come, his career has begun like a picture book – a few highlight reel plays without any real substance.
The Next Chapter
White is an interesting case because his ‘Next Chapter’ is really still his first. By many, he is being written out of his own story before it has even begun. Personally, the fact that he is so easily dismissed by the general public is crazy considering we haven’t even seen what he can really do. It all comes down to the old adage that Fantasy Football production equals the combination of talent and opportunity.
There is no doubt White has raw talent. It only takes a quick look at the tape to see that (a very, very quick look given his limited games). He is fast and has shown the ability to bring down the football through contact. He still has a lot of work to do to be a disciplined route runner, especially when trying to read the defense and creating separation, but if he is healthy, these are things he can continue to learn and improve.
The opportunity is there too. It is not out of the question for White to be the top option in Chicago in 2017, especially with Cameron Meredith out for the season. He led the team in targets in three of his four games in 2016 including a 14 target game in Brian Hoyer’s first start. And Alshon Jeffery played in all four games. White has the opportunity to fill the No. 1 WR role, so we will see if he can take advantage now that Meredith and Jeffery are out of the picture.
In no way am I advocating for him to be drafted as a WR2, he shouldn’t even be a WR3. The risks are real – Will he get injured for the third straight year? Have injuries permanently hampered his explosiveness? Was he just a one year wonder at West Virginia? All very valid questions. But his combination of physical talent and opportunity makes me believe the hate has gone too far.
The next chapter in White’s career feels a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel with an unbelievably wide range of outcomes. If you turn the page, you could very well find another chapter with the pages torn out by injury. But when drafting your WR4, there is no player that poses more upside than White. If he stays healthy, I have no doubt he will over-deliver his draft position and can knock on the door of the WR2 club. Read on at your own risk, but I am more than happy to flip the page and see what the next chapter holds.
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