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numberFire: Has Patriots RB James White Been Able to Replace RB Dion Lewis?

You might be surprised.

I'm always intrigued by statistical models that try to attribute value to players and their production. No model will be perfect, but some systems are certainly better than others. One of the most basic models is Pro Football Reference's "Expected Points Added" method, which factors in location, distance, and down to determine how many points a team can expect to score at any point in time.

Some models are better and can assign value to specific players, with yards after contact, or air yards, or missed tackles. The website numberFire is one of the best sites out there and they posed the simple question: Has James White replaced Dion Lewis?

The New England Patriots missed Lewis after his injury, and White has certainly not been able to fill the void as an every down running back. But you might be surprised by numberFire's results.

When it comes to running the ball, Lewis ranked 8th out of 105 qualifying backs with regards to value added. White ranked a shocking 103rd. This is an extreme chasm when it comes to comparing the two players and it explains why White doesn't play as much as we would typically like- he's a major detriment when it comes to actually running the ball.

But what about the passing game? numberFire says that White's been the third best receiving back of the past decade. Not just this year- but over the past ten seasons. Lewis is no slouch, though, as he ranks as the 9th best over the past decade.

So there has been little drop off in the passing game from Lewis to White, but there has been a definite impact in the rushing game. You should jump into the numbers to get a deeper look, and be excited to watch Lewis next season.