The Zamir White fantasy hype train will not be derailed

Zamir White is lined up to be the Raiders' clear-cut No. 1 running back, and nothing will take the hype train off the rails.
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With the departure of Josh Jacobs to the Green Bay Packers, one of the biggest fantasy football winners from the early part of free agency was Zamir White. Barring an addition behind him, the idea of him as the Las Vegas Raiders' clear-cut top running back is enticing.

The Raiders did eventually make a notable addition to the depth chart behind White, signing former Viking Alexander Mattison last week. Minnesota wanted to make Mattison their lead back last season after letting Dalvin Cook go, but he went ahead and averaged 3.9 yards per carry as the Vikings mined options to replace him in-season (Cam Akers and Ty Chandler).

Kate Magdziuk of Pro Football Focus and Yahoo! Fantasy hit the nail on the head. Of note on the front she mentioned, this year's draft class at running back is weaker than it has been in recent years.

Zamir White hype train is not leaving the rails anytime soon

When Jacobs missed the final four games of last season, we got a glimpse of what White as Las Vegas' lead back looks like.

Week 15, vs. Chargers: 17 carries for 69 yards, 1 TD; three receptions for 16 yards (four targets)
Week 16, at Chiefs: 22 carries for 145 yards, zero catches (one target)
Week 17, at Colts: 20 carries for 71 yards, five receptions for 35 yards (six targets)
Week 18, vs. Broncos: 25 carries for 112 yards, one reception for nine yards (two targets)

In 0.5-point PPR, White posted 16.5, 14.5, 13.1 and 12.6 fantasy points, respectively, in those weeks. He finished as RB12, RB15, RB20 and RB16 (tied). He was RB8 in total and RB12 in fantasy points per game over that span. His PFF numbers, including the ones below from Derek Brown of Fantasy Pros, were excellent.

Projecting a four-game sample at the end of season out to what someone will do over the next full season is tricky business. But the sneaky promise White came in with as a rookie in 2022 was finally met with opportunity (84 of his 121 career carries), and he delivered.

Combine the red zone carries Jacobs and White had last year (48), and that would have been the sixth-highest total for an individual running back, in a bottom-10 scoring offense. White should get a strong percentage of that work this season (Mattison had zero rushing touchdowns last year).

White is a rising commodity in dynasty leagues, and now is the time to buy in that format if you can. He's shaping up to be an RB2 in redraft leagues this year, with some upside potential if his passing game targets are more consistent (see the four-game sample) and he's the primary goal-line guy.

Next. Sleeper RBs. Sleeper rookie RBs to begin keeping tabs on. dark

If the Raiders don't draft a running back of note, and why would they, White's fantasy stock for 2024 will have nothing holding it back when draft season comes.