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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT BUST: DEVONTA FREEMAN RB ATLANTA FALCONS

When it comes to evaluating top running back options for 2016 fantasy football, there seems to be a divide between those who like Atlanta Falcons runner Devonta Freeman and those who swear off him for this season.  Count yours truly in the latter category as Freeman has more than a few red flags attached to his name going into the new season.  Now the only reason we are having this discussion is due to Freeman's breakout a year ago where he took over as the primary ball carrier in his second year in the league, replacing injured rookie Tevin Coleman from the start.  Freeman would become an overnight sensation in September as he reeled off monster running AND receiving games as the main ball carriers for the Falcons, with little to no competition for totes.  The former Florida State standout certainly seemed ready for his close-up as a RB 1 in fantasy football but the narrative would soon change as the season went along.  Whether he began to tire from all the work, Freeman became nothing but an ordinary player in November and December and by the end of the season, had averaged just 4.0 yards per carry which a veyr mediocre number.  The 1,056 total rushing yards were thus not very impressive but Freeman did make his name in standard formats with 11 scores on the ground which saved him in that setup.  Also at the positive side, Freeman proved to be a big PPR asset in catching 73 balls for 578 yards and 3 more scores.  When you put all the numbers together, Freeman certainly looks like a RB 1 for 2016 fantasy football, especially in PPR.  Right?  The answer of course is no which I already hinted at.  Let's dig a bit further and find out why.

As I noted in the above tome, Freeman was not exactly lighting it up on the ground as his 4.0 yards per carry average was very shaky.  As a result, a healthy Tevin Coleman is expected to get at least half of the rushing work this season and most of the goal-line carries.  Coleman has better pure speed than Freeman and is the bigger play guy.  There also is the chance Coleman will get goal-line work as well.  Thus we could be looking at a Jeremy Hill-Giovani Bernard setup here in terms of Coleman getting the goal-line work and a sizable amount of overall carries, while Freman handles the receptions aspect.  If this situation holds true, Freeman drops sharpy in standard formats to a low-end RB 2 and a high-end RB 2 in PPR.  Again Freeman has terrific receiving ability and will be a good asset there but there is zero chance he will match his overall 2015 statistical haul which means many will overdraft him.  This is always a recipe of fantasy football disaster and so you really should do your best to steer clear of Freeman in 2016 depending on your league. 

2016 PROJECTION:  865 rushing yards 4 TD 55 receptions 457 yards 2 TD  


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