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Sunday, August 12, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: ROYCE FREEMAN RB DENVER BRONCOS

The 2018 NFL rookie running back class was widely considered one of the deepest and most talented positions to come out of the 7-round process back in April and once the names were called out, already there was hype for some key players when it came to the upcoming fantasy football season.  Add to the fact that running backs to a man adapt the quickest to the NFL game in terms of putting up impactful numbers right away with the smallest learning curve and ADP's quickly begin to climb heading into draft season.  Then there was the fact that 2017 saw arguably the best performance ever by a rookie running back class as guys such as Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook (before he got hurt), and the monster campaign put up by NFL leading rusher Kareem Hunt to further add to the hysteria. 

Now in terms of the 2018 class of rookie runners, we already know that New York Giants stud (and second overall pick) Saquon Barkley is a special talent that seems destined for a Hunt-like debut and that is why he is the rare back to instantly become a first-rounder.  Behind Barkley though we had some other intriguing names in decent spots to contribute early such as Derrius Guice in Washington, Kerryon Johnson in Detroit, Kalen Ballage in Miami, Royce Freeman in Denver, and Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay.  Unfortunately we can already scratch Guice from this list due to the torn ACL he suffered in the team's preseason opener but the others all will and should get drafted for fantasy football purposes this summer. 

That brings us to Freeman who is the subject of this post and he should get a bunch of extra looks now that he comes off a very good debut Saturday night when he rushed for 38 yards and a score on only 4 carries in a run-heavy scheme for the team.  Of course the Denver coaching staff have said that Freeman will sit behind Devontae Booker as the starter but more outings like this will change that quickly and especially for the fact that Booker averaged just 3.5 and 3.8 yards per carry in his first two NFL seasons.  Thus, it shouldn't take much for the massively productive in college Freeman to overtake Booker and he may even be able to carve out a three-down role given the fact he was also a very good pass catcher in college at Oregon. 

I have said repeatedly this summer that outside of Saquon Barkley, Royce Freeman was the rookie running back I liked the best in terms of immediate fantasy football impact and so he should only be moved up even more after this solid performance.  

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