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Devonta Freeman 2018 Season Outlook

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Freeman battled concussions last year to the tune of 1182 total yards and 8 TDs. After putting up 1500+ total yards and 13+ TDs in both 2015 and 2016, can Freeman bounce back? Or are his days as an RB1 over?

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I've been trying to determine if he will be a great value this season, or if last year was the beginning of the end. Still undecided, but am curious to hear others input.

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I've owned Freeman in a keeper league for his entire career now, and I've settled on him as a dependable RB2 who might end up as a RB1 in any given year.  The rushing numbers are pretty consistent, but the passing game is a bit tough to figure out.

 

- In 2015, Freeman had 97 targets, but the Falcons threw the ball 621 times.  Clearly this was unlikely to sustain long-term.  His targets per game were 4.06 on 537 total pass attempts in '16 and 3.36 on 530 total pass attempts in '17.

 

Is the drop from '16 to '17 due to a new offensive coordinator?  A less efficient offense overall?  Is a change of .7 pass attempts per game just randomness?  I'm not sure.  The funny thing is, in Week 12 when Coleman was out with injury, Freeman had 7 targets/68 yards, and in Week 17 with a healthy Coleman and the season on the line, he was targeted 11 times.

 

It's also worth noting that Coleman's targets per game declined from 3.07 to 2.6 from '16 to '17, and that includes three games in '17 when Coleman was the feature back.  Are the Falcons simply not featuring the RB in the passing game as much?  That may be the case with Sarkisian still in place as the OC in '18.  It seems like a rather odd path strategically to me, at least.

 

- As far as rushing goes, you know what you are going to get.  Freeman averaged 4.8 YPC in '16 and 4.4 in '17, compared to Coleman's 4.4 and 4.0.  Carries per game averaged 14.2 - 14 for Freeman and 9 - 8 for Coleman.  Clearly both backs suffered from the Falcons' less-efficient offense in '17.

 

- So my overall conclusion is:  if you believe the Falcons offense will bounce back this year, Freeman seems like a good buy if perceptions on him are lower.  It seems his rushing output is somewhat linked to the Falcons' overall offensive success.  Given the cyclical and up-and-down nature of the NFL, the Falcons getting an upward boost offensively would not be surprising.

 

Given the criticisms that Sarkisian faced in '17, it seems possible that both RBs are more incorporated in the passing game moving forward, but that's just conjecture.  There's no hard evidence to back it up, beyond regression to the mean, but even in that regard, the sample size is pretty small (two years).

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I 100% believe in Freeman and his talent.  The kid runs extremely hard and gives it all on every play.  I'd own him everywhere possible if it wasn't for his concussions. That definitely gives me some cause for concern.  I doubt he changes his violent running style (that makes him so effective) but it will likely lead to additional injuries and possibly another concussion.

 

Hope he can stay healthy this year.  He is a beast.

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Love Freeman but my issue with owning him, like others is--you feel like you must reach for Coleman higher than you feel comfortable doing.  But Coleman is pretty much a lock for RB1 numbers if Freeman goes down.  

 

 

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10 hours ago, theSPANKER said:

Love Freeman but my issue with owning him, like others is--you feel like you must reach for Coleman higher than you feel comfortable doing.  But Coleman is pretty much a lock for RB1 numbers if Freeman goes down.  

 

 

Generally in these cases I either go one or the other. Usually don't want to "reach" in order to get a cuff, even though in this case Coleman is likely "flex-able" for good portions of the season.  I made it a point to watch Freeman more last year and I really liked what I saw.  I was worried when he came back from concussion that he wouldn't be running as hard but that wasn't the case.  This guy just needs to stay healthy and continue to be the lead back.  If he gets the touches hes going to do good things.

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Posted (edited)

If you just look at his overall fantasy points, he was a borderline RB1 last season, but that doesn't tell the whole story. 


Thanks to the regression of the Falcons offense, Freeman was wildly inconsistent last year.  In 8 of the 14 games he played, he scored 12 or fewer fantasy points (PPR). 

 

Here are how many games of 12 or fewer fantasy points other elite backs had last season: 

 

Gurley (1)

Bell (1)

Kamara (4)

Hunt (6)

Gordon (4)

Ingram (6)

McCoy (5)

Hyde (4)

Fournette (2)

CMC (7)

Duke Johnson (6)

Elliott (1)

Howard (8... in 16 games). 

 

So, last season, Freeman was the only one of these players who was more likely than not to give you a dud in your RB1 spot. I think this makes him more of a high end RB2, as opposed to being a passable RB1. 

 

Edited by ajs723

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On 5/2/2018 at 12:10 AM, theSPANKER said:

Love Freeman but my issue with owning him, like others is--you feel like you must reach for Coleman higher than you feel comfortable doing.  But Coleman is pretty much a lock for RB1 numbers if Freeman goes down.  

 

 

 

I don't mind reaching for a cuff like Coleman. He is the clear number 2, knows the offense and has shown he produces. That's a reach I make every time to make sure I have a lead back in a potentially potent offense.

 

 

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I agree with the comment around him being an RB2 who sometimes will finish as an RB1.  He's been a great TD scorer for whatever reasons, and while he's not LeVeon Bell, he can catch fairly well.    The Coleman thing does loom, but Freeman is signed long term, Coleman is not.   Freeman's role is set.  Coleman's the variable one.   

 

I think we're in somewhat of a resurgent mini-age for FF RB production right now.  Freeman's only reason for not being locked in as a first round pick is the number of other great RB's this year.   

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Where would you guys rank this guy with other players in the same ADP? Freeman, McCoy, McKinnon, Howard, McCaffrey. 

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5 minutes ago, izzyf89 said:

Where would you guys rank this guy with other players in the same ADP? Freeman, McCoy, McKinnon, Howard, McCaffrey. 

 

Standard: Freeman, McKinnon, Howard, McCoy, McCaffrey

PPR: McKinnon, McCaffrey, Freeman, McCoy, Howard

 

Just my 2 cents.

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He is at a very interesting spot in drafts. He's a solid RB2 with a handful of big weeks sprinkled in but is right in the thick of the top TE Gronk along with other solid WRs like...Baldwin, Thielen, TY Hilton & Amari Cooper. Some of these guys will be WR1. "Roster construction" will pivot at this point in our drafts. 

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20 hours ago, izzyf89 said:

Where would you guys rank this guy with other players in the same ADP? Freeman, McCoy, McKinnon, Howard, McCaffrey. 

 

Freeman, McCaffrey, McKinnon, McCoy, Howard.      I feel fairly confident Freeman stays at the head of that group in the next two months.   The rest could shift a bit. 

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I like Atlanta's offense to be better this year than last.  Freeman isn't a sexy draft pick anymore, but he's still only 26, and barring injury, you can count on him for at least 1400+ total yards and between 8-12 TDs.  Add in 40+ receptions in the pass game as well.  I'm sure Atlanta's offense won't be the 2016 version, but I think they'll be better than 2017 which should give Freeman some additional scores. 

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So for keeper leagues this is the year to acquire Freeman if at all possible right? His 2019 contract is only $3.75M and Coleman will be a FA. I assume they will let Coleman walk as he will be looking to get paid big $.  The more I think about Freeman the more I'm looking to go all-in on him this year and it should set up great for 2019 as well.  2020 his contract is $6.3M which isn't too bad either.  He's 26 years old and should have at least 2-3 more years in him.

 

It might be time to look to make some trades to get him prior to the season starting.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not too knowledgeable in cases like this where the RB1 on a team is signed to a nice contract, and the RB2 (Coleman) is set to be a FA. In cases like this, do they run the RB2 into the ground knowing he's going to walk next season and the team wants to make their RB1 last long as possible aka last long as his contract?

 

Or do they ride their RB1 because they paid him a bunch of money and want  a return on investment?

 

Someone enlighten me 

Edited by dannyz6969

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5 minutes ago, dannyz6969 said:

I'm not too knowledgeable in cases like this where the RB1 on a team is signed to a nice contract, and the RB2 (Coleman) is set to be a FA. In cases like this, do they run the RB2 into the ground knowing he's going to walk next season and the team wants to make their RB1 last long as possible aka last long as his contract?

 

Or do they ride their RB1 because they paid him a bunch of money and want  a return on investment?

 

Someone enlighten me 

Play whoever is performing well, don't overthink it

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21 hours ago, dannyz6969 said:

I'm not too knowledgeable in cases like this where the RB1 on a team is signed to a nice contract, and the RB2 (Coleman) is set to be a FA. In cases like this, do they run the RB2 into the ground knowing he's going to walk next season and the team wants to make their RB1 last long as possible aka last long as his contract?

 

Or do they ride their RB1 because they paid him a bunch of money and want  a return on investment?

 

Someone enlighten me 

 

They play the guy who is performing on game day, the contracts are irrelevant on Sunday.  Coaches are going to play the guy who they think gives them the best chance of winning games.  Foreman and coleman are a tandem and i think real time performance and gameflow will determine what the OC does with regards to distribution of touches.

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16 minutes ago, dashoe said:

 

They play the guy who is performing on game day, the contracts are irrelevant on Sunday.  Coaches are going to play the guy who they think gives them the best chance of winning games.  Foreman and coleman are a tandem and i think real time performance and gameflow will determine what the OC does with regards to distribution of touches.

That's the 2nd time I've seen someone mention foreman and Coleman in regards to the falcons backfield lol

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2 hours ago, bhawks489 said:

That's the 2nd time I've seen someone mention foreman and Coleman in regards to the falcons backfield lol

haha! fore or free both are pretty nondescript

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19 hours ago, bhawks489 said:

That's the 2nd time I've seen someone mention foreman and Coleman in regards to the falcons backfield lol

 

It’s high time we get this straight: Royce Freeman will outperform Corey Coleman in standard but flip that in PPR.

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On 5/1/2018 at 11:10 PM, theSPANKER said:

Love Freeman but my issue with owning him, like others is--you feel like you must reach for Coleman higher than you feel comfortable doing.  But Coleman is pretty much a lock for RB1 numbers if Freeman goes down.  

 

 

If I owned Freeman the last player I would own would be Coleman.  Handcuffing is a terrible idea as it is, but this is probably worst case scenario.  Please don't handcuff in the 6th round.

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