Devonta Freeman injured his knee in the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener. On Thursday, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said the two-time Pro Bowler will make his return to the lineup in Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He’s going to play,” Quinn told reporters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter.
Though Freeman was limited in practice on Wednesday, the coach indicated his star back took on a nearly full workload on Thursday.
Falcons Struggle in Devonta Freeman’s Absence
The fifth-year pro went down in a Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Falcons have continued to struggle in his absence, at just 1-3 on the year. Fortunately for Freeman’s fantasy owners, Tevin Coleman didn’t exactly usurp the starting role.
The second-string back had a huge day in Week 2, rushing for 107 yards on 16 carries and adding 18 more yards through the air in a victory over the Carolina Panthers. But Coleman has underwhelmed since, and not for a lack of usage: He amassed just 84 rushing yards on 29 carries combined across losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Cincinnati Bengals.
On top of all that, Coleman was limited in practice on Wednesday and is currently listed as questionable to go on Sunday, though he’s expected to play.
Should You Start Devonta Freeman?
Freeman picked a good team to play against in his first game back. Four games into their season, the Steelers have surrendered an average of 115.8 rushing yards per game, the 12th-most in the NFL, and have given up 29 points per game, the seventh-most.
Even if Freeman is splitting touches with Coleman in Week 5 — which is a conservative outlook until we hear otherwise — his upside in a matchup with a team prone to shootouts offers too much upside to keep him out of your lineup, unless you’re embarrassingly stacked at running back.