Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has been one of the most reliable fantasy options at wide receiver in recent years, as he played all 16 games with least 83 receptions and over 1,100 yards in every season from 2007-2012. But he entered the 2013 season with an ankle issue that clearly limited his effectiveness and he added a hamstring injury that led to him missing three games.
White went into Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills with just six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the previous three games since returning to action, so even the most optimistic fantasy owner would have had trouble starting him in that favorable matchup. So of course White then had by far his best game of the season against the Bills, with 10 receptions (on 14 targets) for 143 yards, but is he now a viable starting option for fantasy owners during the playoffs?
Sunday’s performance seems to be a signal that White is finally healthy, and he is now in position to take advantage of plenty of targets from quarterback Matt Ryan over the final four weeks of the season. Week 14 brings a very favorable matchup against the Green Bay Packers, who have allowed at least 25 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring) in four of their last five games with multiple touchdowns allowed to the position three times in that span. Another nice matchup is on the slate for Week 15, as the Washington Redskins entered Week 13′s action allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers (24.5 per game).
A tough matchup will come in Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers, who have only allowed two touchdowns to wide receivers over their last six games and one of those came late in their game Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. So White may again be bench material for owners that reach their league’s championship game, but if he can continue to perform well up to that point he could still be worth using as a WR2.
A lot of White’s fantasy owners may not be in position to take full advantage of his return to relevance, at least in terms of being a legit championship contender. But he is in line to be a difference maker at the most crucial time of the season, and those that were able to navigate their roster around his injuries and lackluster production to make the playoffs may reap significant rewards.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.