Several legitimate concerns are suppressing Devonta Freeman’s average draft position early in the offseason. Freeman only played 2 games in 2018. In Week 1 (2018), he picked up a nasty knee bruise which caused him to miss the next 3 games. Freeman got back on the field in week 5 only so suffer a sports hernia in the groinal region (medical term) which finished his season.
Freeman is on the smaller side of what we’re used to in a bell-cow back, checking in at 5’8”, 206 lbs. Devonta is built like a fire hydrant, though, and we’ve seen similarly sized backs have fine careers, Ray Rice at 5’8”, 212 lbs comes to mind as a recent example.
Coming out of Atlanta’s first organized team activities (OTAs), all the buzz around Freeman has been positive. Coaches and Devonta himself report he is 100% healthy and appears to be back to his old self. And while players and coaches espousing trips to the fountain of youth is nothing new, when we look at the at these reports in combination with what the Falcons actually did this offseason, mainly letting Tevin Coleman walk and passing on running back in the draft until the 5th round, the case for taking Freeman at his discounted rate begins to take shape.
The Falcons finished 2018 as the 10th best scoring offense but finished 27th in rushing yards. That odd combination makes it no surprise that Matt Ryan finished 2nd only to Patrick Mahomes in fantasy points scored by QBs. Ryan is going to take a step back as the Falcons re-establish their running game with their two 1st round offensive linemen, and a healthy Devonta Freeman.
Freeman is being drafted as the RB17 with an average draft position of 35 (that is the end of the 3rd round for you math fans) as I write this article. He is going after Marlon Mack, Leonard Fournette, and Dalvin Cook. I’d take Freeman over all 3 of these backs. More conservative fantasy owners will likely prefer the safety in a back like Freeman (a former #1 RB finisher) over upstarts with great potential like Damien Williams, Aaron Jones, too.
I’m taking all the discounted Devonta Freeman I can get this year.