In most 2021 dynasty leagues, Elijah Mitchell was widely drafted outside the top three rounds of rookie drafts, and in some drafts, he ended up undrafted. At the same time, many people drafted his teammate Trey Sermon in the first round.
If you were one of the unfortunate people who took Sermon high and didn’t get Mitchell, you are probably kicking yourself right now because Mitchell seems like the perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s wide-zone run scheme. However, if you had listened to some of the reports in camp, you would have known that Elijah Mitchell looked much more explosive than Sermon early on.
As dynasty drafts are now underway, we take a look at three reasons why Zamir White may be a really good player to target in dynasty leagues and why he may end up replacing Josh Jacobs as the team’s full-time starter by the 2023 season.
Shift in Run Scheme
The Raiders are going through a major shift right now. Head coach Josh McDaniels is installing a new scheme and building a new system. He wants his guys to do things his way, and Zamir White could be a major player in that approach with an opportunity to make an impact in dynasty leagues and beyond.
The Raiders are shifting their run scheme away from an inside zone scheme to a heavy power run scheme. And when I use the word heavy, don’t take those words lightly. Last year Josh McDaniels and the New England Patriots ran the power scheme more than any other team in the NFL:
The shift in the scheme is important because this is the first time in Josh Jacobs’ career that he will be running a power scheme. So although we don’t know if he will fit the scheme, we do know what the Raiders thought last year about him when they chose to run power.
Jacobs ran the zone 2.95 times to every 1 power run (168 zone carries vs. 57 power carries), while backup running back Peyton Barber ran the zone to power at a ratio of 1.1 zone to 1 power. Before his injury, Kenyan Drake also ran the power more often than Josh Jacobs. He ran the zone to power at a rate of 1.95 zone to 1 power.
This new power scheme McDaniels runs doesn’t favor Josh Jacobs. This could also be why they declined his fifth-year option and drafted RB Zamir White in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft,
An interesting note regarding White, he ran the power scheme more than the zone during his time in college, which makes him an interesting fit for this scheme. In college, White had 161 attempts for 859 yards (5.3 ypa) with 11 touchdowns. He also forced 37 missed tackles.
White did split carries in college with fellow RB James Cook, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, so his numbers are not very eye-popping.
Running Back by Committee Approach
Maybe the biggest factor to buying Zamir White is because we’ve recently heard that the Raiders might switch to a running back by committee approach.
One of the best ways to predict future outcomes of anything is to look at past outcomes of that same thing. And when you look at head coach Josh McDaniels’ approach in the past, you may be hesitant to commit to Josh Jacobs fully.
Over the past five years, nine different running backs have had at least 50 carries for the Patriots, which could means they may not fully commit to RB Josh Jacobs.
Now, of course, Jacobs is talented, but he’s not very explosive. He only had two runs over 40 yards last year, and he’s struggled to be consistent over the past two years, averaging only 3.9 yards per carry.
This could mean the Raiders could look to use multiple running backs against different fronts. If one team has slow linebackers, maybe they use Kenyan Drake. If one team shows a light box, maybe they call a heavy run scheme that features White/Jacobs.
Salary Cap Speaks Volumes
As of this writing, the Raiders have the second-highest cap space for the 2022 NFL season. However, in 2023, they don’t have nearly as much. For one, Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow and Maxx Crosby’s contracts don’t kick in until the 2023 season.
At the same time, Darren Waller is looking for a raise. Currently, he is the 17th highest paid TE in the NFL. He is likely going to get a raise of roughly $8 million per year, which means the Raiders cap space in 2023 is going to be very tight.
Due to the salary cap, Josh Jacobs may not be a Raider in 2023, and Zamir White could take over for Jacobs after this season. I am buying Zamir White and stashing him right now in dynasty, and if you have the ability to put a guy on IR, don’t forget UDFA RB Sincere McCormick, who will be the backup for White once Jacobs is gone.
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