Dynasty Trades: We Need to Talk About Kevin (White)

Kevin White

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a football (and fantasy football) career thus far for Kevin White, a relatively unheralded NFL prospect whose senior season production and impressive combine performance (including a 4.35 40 time) rocketed him up dynasty rookie draft boards in 2014. While some were bullish enough to group the raw, physical specimen White into the same draft tier as Alabama’s more polished and accomplished Amari Cooper, others raised legitimate questions about his lack of early collegiate production, and his ability to match translate his physical traits to the NFL Game.

Two years and countless ups and downs later, White has done little yet to justify his hype and the high rookie draft capital that owners spent on him. Let’s quickly review White’s fortunes over the past few years:

Logged a highly productive senior season at West Virginia

Kevin  White Senior Season

Missed his entire rookie season with a lower body injury (shin)

Drafted #7 overall by the Chicago Bears, the second WR off the board behind Amari Cooper

Commanded a high market share of targets (26.1%, good for 10th in the league) in several starts in year two (PlayerProfiler.com)

Gets put on IR again (ankle)

Alshon Jeffery rumored to leave in free agency, as Bears will not apply franchise tag

So with the latest news regarding Alshon Jeffery’s likely departure from Chicago, Kevin White’s dynasty value once again gets a slight boost. We’re again at a crossroads again. Is Kevin White a Buy, a Sell or a Hold?

Reasons to Be Optimistic About Kevin White

  • Strong combine metrics & prototypical physical traits
  • Premium draft capital = more opportunity
  • Showed flashes when last on the field
  • Commanded a high market share of targets
  • Departure of Jeffery

If Alshon Jeffery leaves in free agency, there’s a big opportunity for a wide receiver to step up and command a high market share of targets in the Bears passing game: and some signs point to White being the biggest beneficiary. As Ryan Pace’s first draft pick, the current Bears regime has a vested interest in giving the highly drafted White the opportunity to succeed, and before he got injured, White was finally starting to show signs of looking like the player that was drafted.

But as the saying goes, the best ability is availability – and Kevin White’s UDFA teammate Cameron Meredith emerged in the WR vacuum in Chicago last year as the lead target after White went to the IR (and Alshon was suspended for PEDs) to post 888 yards and 4 TDs, and shouldn’t be ruled out as a candidate to take on the #1 role in Chicago.

silvatweet

Reasons to Fade Kevin White

  • Came in the league as an older prospect, and will be 25 before the start of the 2017 season – his third year in the league. For context, Mike Evans just finished his 3rd season , and is over a year younger than White
  • The injury bug. Has played only 4 games in his first two seasons, due to lower body injuries
  • Hasn’t appeared to show his elite speed on the field
  • Pricetag – many of White’s current owners (and truthers) are still holding out for hope 

Despite his volatility as a dynasty asset, Kevin White still has a lot of things working in his favor, and could be worth a speculative buy at his current price. It all comes down to your risk tolerance and roster construction.

If you are highly exposed to a lot of players like White (Breshad Perriman, Josh Doctson, Devante Parker) who have high NFL draft capital, carry immense expectations and ‘trutherism’ from their owners, and still haven’t quite lived up to the hype, you may want to shed some risk from your dynasty team by looking to move White. Here are the three scenarios where you should look to move White, with the risk/reward ratio scaling up the more time you hold:

    • Sell now, while the ‘Alshon is leaving the Bears’ narrative is fresh, and analysts like Mike Clay are beating the ‘buy low’ drum.
    • Hold until after the NFL draft, and look to sell as soon as camp hype starts talking up Kevin White as ‘being in the best shape of his life’, or some other fluffy narrative. There’s a risk here if the Bears draft a WR early, acquire a free agent, resign Alshon or if Cameron Meredith emerges as the camp hype darling.
    • Wait until White gets on the field in-season, and hope for a productive game. You’ll probably get more from him in a trade at that point, but there’s a lot of ‘ifs’ to get to this point.

If your stable of WRs is less fragile, and you can afford to take on more risk, White is a good buy if you can find the right deal. If his owner has a lot of risky players, they may be looking to turn White into a more stable commodity – be it veteran or resetting the clock with another rookie pick, try sending a mid 2nd round pick to them as an opening offer. You may be surprised.

My Dynasty Trade Story: Selling Kevin White

While I didn’t end up with White on any teams when he came into the league in the 2014 season, I was high on his potential, and into the opportunity that he would be afforded when Jeffery (whom I expected the Bears to let walk in free agency) theoretically departed. I went out and actively acquired White in several leagues in the 2015 offseason.

In retrospect, I did this in too many leagues, and it hurt my ability to compete in some leagues last year. While I still believe in White’s potential, I think he’s an incredibly volatile asset, and was and am open to divesting a few of my shares of him particularly on some of my more fragile teams. His price was also way too high last year, given the risk inherent. I’m less risk-averse than the average dynasty owner, but his late 2nd – early 3rd round startup costs had most of his potential upside already baked in without him having played a down in the NFL, which is a pretty unbelievable, and not remotely a good value.

League Format:

Scott Fish Bowl 480 Style: Superflex, .2 PPC, 1 point PPR, TE Premium 1.5 PPR.
Start QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/TE/SFLX/FLX/FLX/FLX/FLX

I came into the startup draft for this league last year expecting other owners to focus too much on the PPC and TE Premium scoring, so I decided to pivot and target QBs and WRs and build at RB through the draft. I ended up stacked at QB (especially considering the Superflex format) – and have focused on building trade capital by flipping fringe QBs. with the exception of Evans and Cooper, my WRs are high risk/high reward, so I am welcoming the opportunity to divest from some risk and acquire some players with proven production.

My Roster (pre-trade):

QBs: Wilson, Winston, Carr, Glennon, Savage
RB: Yeldon, Bernard, Burkhead, Dw. Washington, J. Williams, D. Jackson, Farrow
WR: Evans, Cooper, Moncrief, Coleman, Doctson, White, J. Matthews, Funchess, Gabriel, Austin, Smelter
TE: Ertz, Derby, DeValve, Doyle

2017 Draft Picks: 1.03, 1.04, 2.03, 3.03, 4.03

The Trade:

Kevin  White Dynasty Trade

At the end of the previous season, a leaguemate reached out to ask if I would be willing to move White. I told him that I’d prefer to hang onto him through some of the offseason, as I recognized that it was not an ideal time to move White, but I’d certainly be open to it.

A few weeks ago, after doing some research into Tyrell Williams, I decided I wanted to make a move at him to add more production to my team, and shed some of the risk from my crop of unproven, hyped players. I sent an offer of White for Williams straight up, which was declined, and ultimately made the offer of Yeldon + White for Williams

Yeldon is another oft-injured player whose role in 2017 is uncertain, and his value is mostly insulated by his draft capital and age at this point. The Jaguars have been linked to Leonard Fournette and other early round RBs in the 2017 draft, and Dave Caldwell recently indicated that he viewed Ivory as the 1a of the Jaguars backfield tandem. I had no problems including him as a part of the deal.

Soon after the news leaked that the Chicago Bears would not be franchise tagging Alshon Jeffery, my trade was accepted.

Trade Breakdown & Reaction

Dynasty Twitter’s Take

According to a Twitter poll of over 500 users, 62% felt I gave up too much value to acquire Tyrell Williams.

Kevin  White Trade

My Take

While I may be ‘buying high’  and “losing” the trade from a value perspective at this current moment, looking ahead, I believe this trade could look very strong in my favor in a few months, should White fail to make an impact in year 3.

Unlike White, Williams has successfully logged a productive season the NFL, and paired flashes of ability on tape with a strong metric profile. Williams certainly benefited from the absence of Keenan Allen and Woodhead in the Chargers passing game last season, but showed enough to convince me that he’s earned a strong role in the offense going forward, and has youth and athleticism on his side, as well as at least a few years of an excellent QB. Who knows who (or what) the Bears will roll out at QB this season.

If White has trouble staying healthy again, or fails to log some promising tape over the course of the 2017 season, his value will no longer be insulated, and his stock will tank hard. All the more reason to look to move him this offseason if you’re not a believer, or just want to cut your losses by flipping him during an upcoming hype window.

Follow Dan McDonnell on Twitter.

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