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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Las Vegas Raiders

Which player in Las Vegas is worthy of making a move for this summer?

In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.

To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:

Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.

Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.

Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.

Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.

It is a season of new beginnings for the Las Vegas Raiders. While long-time quarterback Derek Carr returns, the Raiders welcome a new offensive weapon in Davante Adams and a new head coach in Josh McDaniels. Jon Gruden generally engineered a productive offense but you cannot help but feel there is more that can be extracted from this group given the personnel.

The acquisition of Adams makes this a fairly settled hierarchy. He is the lead target. Hunter Renfrow will continue to be the subject of memes as he thrives in the slot. Darren Waller will continue to terrorize defense with his athleticism in the open field. The one position, however, which could offer some turnover is running back.

Josh Jacobs has established himself as a quality if unspectacular starter, though the Raiders recently declined his fifth-year option and have never shown the proclivity to fully commit to him. While a coaching change could result in a change of usage, we of course know Josh McDaniels comes from New England where consistent usage has been hard to find. This leads us to…

Zamir White, RB

Category: Sleeper

The rookie from Georgia may have just recently gotten his legs back under him following a pair of serious knee injuries. White could pilfer specialized touches from Jacobs early and has fair odds to be the Raiders’ 2023 starter.

production

A highly-regarded recruit out of North Carolina, White missed his freshman season after tearing his left ACL in fall camp, less than a year after tearing his right ACL prior to his senior season in high school. It led to a delayed arrival for White, and he was eased back during the 2019 season, a luxury Georgia will always have with its stable of talented backs.

Stats from Sports Reference.

Once he was several years removed from his most recent knee injury, White took over the role of two-down thumper for the Bulldogs. He was effective as a chain-mover, a back who continuously churns his legs to battle for more yards. However, in 2021 he appeared to regain some of the explosive abilities he showed prior to his tenure at Georgia. Even with the overall numbers looking awfully similar, White looked improved and rehabbed his draft stock enough to land with Las Vegas in round four.

DEPTH CHART

It is easy to wishcast a rookie running back into a starting role. They are exciting, and often battling with a veteran we have deemed boring and replaceable. Jacobs, however, is far from a pushover on the depth chart. He figures to rather easily hold the starting role, even with a new coaching staff.

Looking beyond Jacobs, you see the ever enigmatic Kenyan Drake and special teams ace Brandon Bolden on the depth chart. Both can fit within a defined role but it is not difficult seeing White surpassing both as the early down grinder if Jacobs misses time. The Raiders declining to pick up Jacobs’ fifth-year option leaves a wide-open depth chart in 2023 and beyond, with either an early-round rookie or veteran back battling White for main duties, though it is always possible the Raiders bring back Jacobs at a more palatable price.

CHALLENGES

White has never shown the ability to be a prolific receiver. He can showcase reliable hands and make defenders miss in the open field but it never figures to be a focal point of his game. This caps his upside, as a true feature back role appears to be a stretch. Fortunately, Georgia coaches prefer their backs to play a much-defined role and White was never given much opportunity to expand his game. With added reps and experience, we may see White expand his skill-set.

CONCLUSION

As a former five-star recruit who most recently played for the college football national champions, White is well-known in most dynasty communities. Yet his ADP sits at a relatively modest 154th overall (RB51) despite rookie fever season in the air. Managers are wisely approaching White with caution given his third-day draft pedigree and his two-down profile.

Of course, such warts on the profile are the reason he is not gracing the cover of fantasy football preview magazines. We know we are stretching to find value in the later rounds of drafts. Between opportunity and talent, White is a worthy swing. What we can do is well is very evident and Las Vegas could be looking to revamp its backfield soon with White operating as a prominent piece of it.

2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Las Vegas Raiders
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6gummybearsandsomescotch
23 days ago

Thanks Rob! Zamir is an intriguing prospect for sure. Would you be comfortable taking him at 2.05 in a 1QB PPR rookie draft? Kind of seems like a “get your guy” scenario after the early 2nd round.

6gummybearsandsomescotch
Reply to  Rob Willette
20 days ago

Thanks Rob! Our MFL league just opened and he and BRJ are in the 3rd. I think I’m taking that all day.

Mark Boutot
22 days ago

In regards to White, I’m of the mindset I would try to draft him where I can, hope he has an opportunity to show what he can do, hope that opportunity goes well, and then, taking advantage of the increased hype surrounding him sure to follow should he show well, sell him for something else because I don’t believe he has “extended” staying power (i.e., the 4 to 5 year playing at a fairly high level type). I’d hope for the kid’s sake I’m wrong, but something just tells me he’s more of a “flip an asset” play than someone I’m hoping I can pencil in as a starter week after week for a few years.

6gummybearsandsomescotch
Reply to  Mark Boutot
20 days ago

Agreed. He seems to fit that Jordan Howard or Damien Harris mold where he can help you win for a few years but probably don’t want him on his second contract unless he really surprises.

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