Devonta Freeman led all fantasy football running backs in total points last season, but he might just be fool’s gold in 2016. The Atlanta Falcons have every intention of featuring a committee, pairing Freeman with second-year stud Tevin Coleman.
Dan Quinn said what's best for the team is using Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman in unison, although Freeman definitely can handle full load
— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) July 26, 2016
This is a fantasy football death knell for Freeman’s fantasy value. It also puts a damper on Coleman’s value, as nobody will know from week to week which running back will have a shot at putting up big points.
Let’s just hope Falcons head coach Dan Quinn doesn’t resort to Bill Belichickian-levels of unpredictability.
Freeman was a fantasy football god last year, in part because Coleman was injured early on.
Coleman was dubbed the starter before the season began but suffered cracked ribs in Week 2. He ended up missing four games. During his absence, Freeman got so hot that he claimed the starting job the rest of the year.
After taking over, Freeman was outstanding as both a runner and receiver, totaling 1,634 yards and 14 touchdowns.
But there is no doubt he ended up losing steam towards the end of the season, poking a hole in the “definitely can handle a full load” argument. Freeman failed to crack 100 yards rushing after Week 7 and his yards per carry plummeted during the second half.
Coleman was much more explosive as a runner when he did get his chances to play, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, though he only scored one touchdown.
In order to keep Freeman fresh, the Falcons will likely split carries throughout the season to ensure he doesn’t suffer another late-season meltdown. This is a terrific team strategy and should be good news for the team’s offense.
But it is a horrible fantasy football development. Owners should be extremely wary about drafting either Coleman or Freeman early in drafts. At this point it seems like it will be a crap shoot from week to week whether they put up big points, especially considering how much the Falcons throw the ball.