Freeman should return value as a RB2, but do you think the usage will be enough for you to be happy on a weekly basis? There are a a few reasons why even at what looks like a decent value of a 4th round pick in PPR might be a little risky in 2019.
Getting away from the run is something that was extremely evident last year, and is also part of what you get with incoming OC Dirk Koetter as well. Last season, with a 2-man committee of mostly Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, they averaged only 17.5 carries COMBINED from Week 6 to 16. I say mostly because Smith got hurt and was out after Week 15. The committee went three ways in Week 17.
During his last gig with the Falcons, Koetter did get away from the run, and abandoned it more often than they probably should have. He’s not someone who is going to get the best out of the running game; in 2012, Michael Turner was their lead back and played all 16 games but averaged less than 14 carries per game. An aging Steven Jackson came in the next year and averaged 13 carries a game over the next two years, even with a young Devonta Freeman itching to get on the field at the time. Guess how many carries Peyton Barber had in the one game Koetter called plays for this past year? You guessed it – 13.
With a slightly older Freeman with knee issues (never dealt with PCL/MCL injury properly; that tends to linger), a concussion history, a foot injury, and groin surgery, there will likely be a committee once again with Ito Smith, and there might not be enough touches to go around. Dan Quinn has even stated that Ito Smith will have a larger role this upcoming year.
Even though Freeman might seem like a value, I probably won’t go near him this season. I do expect the Falcons to have a great passing offense, and Koetter’s history definitely supports that, but Freeman might end up being dead weight on fantasy teams this year.
Are you still taking a shot on Freeman as your RB2? This offense will still have firepower, and he can be a beneficiary, but I rather depend on touches and opportunity than serendipity. Let me know 👇👇