Devonta Freeman’s performance against the Vikings puts fantasy owners in a precarious position heading into Week 2. The temptation is to sit the Falcons running back, but all offseason the Falcons have emphasized their desire to lean on Freeman after missing the majority of 2018.
Freeman should be back in the RB2 conversation against the Eagles with upside for more production. After an Atlanta training camp practice in July, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn commented on how explosive Freeman looked.
“He looks exactly as we remember him in his best space,” Quinn noted.
Freeman looked far from explosive against the Vikings and ended up splitting snaps with Ito Smith. This should not be as alarming given the Falcons have typically paired Freeman with another back, but, when healthy, he has consistently produced in fantasy. The Falcons offensive line was a train wreck against the Vikings, and Atlanta ended up leaning on their passing game as they tried to chip away at a significant deficit.
Freeman Is a Good Buy-Low Candidate
There is plenty of reason to doubt Freeman, which also makes him a potential buy-low candidate. Freeman missed the majority of last season with an injury and some owners are worried Smith’s presence will eat into the veteran’s workload. Yet, Smith had an opportunity to prove himself in Freeman’s absence last season and looked better suited for a complementary role.
As the Falcons transition back to Dirk Koetter’s offense, there may be some growing pains early. What we do know is that the Falcons want to lean on Freeman, and the Falcons running back also excels in the passing game.
“He’s had an outstanding offseason,” Quinn told The Athletic during the preseason. “The energy he brought back, starting with OTAs, he’s a stronger man than what he was prior to his injury. You’ve heard people say, ‘Can you come back stronger from an injury?’ I think this is one of those cases where the answer is yes. He’s more violent in his cuts because of that strength. His mindset, determination is completely on point. He adds a lot to our team.”
If you are the Freeman owner, you are holding strong as better days are ahead. For those looking to acquire the Falcons running back, you will likely be able to get him at a discount with his disappointing Week 1 combined with his long layoff from being on the football field.
Freeman Can Be Started RB2 Against the Eagles
The Redskins struggled to run the ball against the Eagles in Week 1, but their top running back Derrius Guice also sustained a significant injury. Adrian Peterson was not active leaving Chris Thompson to get the work once Guice went down, but he primarily excels in catching passes.
Expect the Eagles to face more of a challenge this week as Freeman looks to once again find his footing. Unless you have a lot of depth at running back, Freeman is starting in your lineup and is due for a bounce-back performance. The Falcons offense should get a bit of a boost being back home in front of a primetime crowd.