How Devonta Freeman Can Impact Your Entire Fantasy Draft

How Devonta Freeman Can Impact Your Entire Fantasy Draft
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After an injury riddled 2018 that landed Freeman on injured reserve with only 14 carries, his ADP for 2019 can instantly dictate your draft.


Devonta Freeman is one man who can change your entire draft. He landed on I.R. after just 14 carries and 68 rushing yards in 2018. In the first game of the season he sustained a knee injury that sidelined him for three weeks only to come down with injuries to both his groin and foot in his next game. Those injuries in his second game ended Freeman’s season. Since his injury shortened 2018, his ADP has plummeted as it seems fantasy fans all over have lost faith in him. I will tell you why he is fantasy gold at his current ADP and can be a top 10 running back and your team’s RB1.

Current ADP

Here, at Dynasty Football Digest, we have been conducting fantasy community mock drafts. If you have not participated in one you will want to. It helps get your fix and a good understanding of how the community is viewing certain players. After last month and four mocks in, Devonta Freeman has seen his 2nd Round ADP from 2018 drop all the way to the 5th round with a current ADP of 50th overall.

That puts Freeman as the 21st running back selected overall. For ADP comparison, Sony Michel’s ADP is 29.5, Kerryon Johnson’s ADP is 32, Leonard Fournette’s ADP is 32, Derrius Guice’s ADP is 33.25, Aaron Jones’s ADP is 36.25, Marlon Mack’s ADP is 36.75 and Derrick Henry’s ADP is 46.5. Of those players, not one of them has completed an entire 16 game season. Also, of those players, Leonard Fournette is the only player to eclipse 1,000 scrimmage yards in a season.

Freeman’s Production

Devonta Freeman was one of the most productive running backs from 2015-2017. During those three seasons he totaled 4,357 total yards from scrimmage and 35 touchdowns. That is an average of  about 1,452 scrimmage yards and almost 12 touchdowns per season.  During this span Freeman also averaged about 54 receptions per season which bumps his value in PPR leagues. He was also able to do this while ceding about 33% of the team’s touches to running mate Tevin Coleman. With Coleman as a part of the every game rotation, it kept Freeman from taking on all of the wear and tear leaving him with a little fresher legs than your normal five year veteran.

Freeman did not put up the best athletic numbers at the combine but if you watch his tape he is very elusive. He is a violent runner and his legs never stop pressing forward until actually taken down. Watch this clip here where he plows through one tackler to carry a couple more:

His side to side quickness and agility is impressive as well. Once he gets out in space most players fear trying to take him down. Here are two examples of Freeman making tacklers look helpless in their attempts to bring him down:

Draft Strategy

Wide Receiver Heavy

There are a couple of ways you can strategize with Freeman’s current ADP. If you are outside of the top 5 picks you probably missed on Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian Mccaffrey and Alvin Kamara. With that said the next tier of backs are much lower and you should probably draft a high end wide receiver in the first round. Knowing you can get Freeman in a couple rounds later you can go wide receiver again in the second round. This could leave with with a possible pairing of the likes of a Devante Adams and Amari Cooper which is not a bad start to a draft.

Now comes the third round where you can address the running back spot but with Freeman still out there as a later round afterthought you can get creative. With some real good receiving options still available you could go and grab somebody like Kenny Golladay, Adam Thielen, or A.J. Green as your WR3. Now with a top of the line trio of receivers you do not need to look at the position again for a couple of rounds.

Go ahead in the fourth round and grab Freeman to be your RB1 and then in the next round or two grab another running back like Tarik Cohen or Mark Ingram II. Both of those backs have heavy workload potentials and you now have the start of a potent offense.

Grab a Top 3 Tight End

There are three elite level tight ends in the NFL, they are Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz. All of these guys have an ADP of 32 or better. That has them going either late second round or in the third. With the option of waiting on running back until later you can go and grab one of these top tight ends. Say you use your first round pick and grab a top tier wide receiver, then grab a second tier wide receiver followed by one of the tight ends. That leaves you with two good receivers, an elite tight end, and then the option of grabbing Freeman after. This is another good way to start the offense.

Reach for a Quarterback

With the idea that Freeman will fall to his current ADP allows you to reach for one of the top tier quarterbacks as well. Personally I like to wait on quarterback but a mid round RB1 allows for a change of strategy. If you grab Patrick Mahomes in the second or third round and Freeman in the fourth, it leaves you the opportunity to grab a top tier receiver, tight end, and quarterback to follow with a possible RB1 in Freeman.

Load up on Running Backs

There is a big chunk of running backs going in the first 35 picks of drafts. If you get one of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian Mccaffrey, or Alvin Kamara in the first round then you are ecstatic. You could then follow that up with a second round pick of a second level receiver like Amari Cooper, Antonio Brown or Stefon Diggs as your WR1 or grab a second running back the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Dalvin Cook or James Conner.

Grab either a wide receiver or running back, whichever you did not in round two, and then Freeman in the fourth. Now you have three stud running backs and will not need to think about the position again until the late rounds.

Summary

Devonta Freeman is being vastly overlooked this season due to missing almost all of 2018. It is not that Freeman has an injury history outside of last season, as he played in 61 of a possible 64 games in his career. He showed in three years of being showcased that he belongs in that upper tier level of running backs but it seems many have forgotten or already given up on him. The injury he sustained last season was not a career threatening one as he could have returned at the end of the season. Since the Falcons were not going to be competing for a title they shut him down to save him for 2019.

Losing Tevin Coleman to free agency, and not adding another running back until the mid rounds in the draft, only solidifies the fact that the Falcons still have plenty of confidence in Freeman and should have a similar usage to his prime years of 2015-2017. Knowing this, you can use your first three picks of the draft to load up on other positions or even overload at running back. Either way, Devonta Freeman at his current ADP has the ability to manipulate your draft strategy.

Follow me on Twitter @JoeyTheToothIDP. Also tune into the F3Pod Podcast as @Lanny1925, @dubsfans02, and myself cover anything and everything dynasty football related. for a complete list for current ADP (click link) check out www.dynastyfootballdigest.com