Devonta Freeman Fantasy Outlook for Week 1 is Favorable Despite Tough Matchup with Vikings

Jason Schandl
Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Injuries limited Devonta Freeman to only two games in 2018, but don't let that overshadow what he had done in the previous three seasons — finishing 13th, sixth and first in fantasy production among running backs.

Last year's injury has clearly created some concern among fantasy football players, and Freeman has an average draft position (ADP) of only RB16 this season, going as the 31st player off the board overall per

Devonta Freeman 2019 Fantasy Outlook

Freeman's fantasy scoring did drop over each of his last three full seasons, but a large part of that can be attributed to the role that Tevin Coleman played. Coleman saw an increase in touches in each of his NFL seasons, going from 89 as a rookie to 149 in 2016 and 183 in 2017 as he proved himself as a productive change-of-pace back.

Freeman returns with less competition now that Coleman is a San Francisco 49er though, with 2018 fourth-round pick Ito Smith serving as his top backup.

Smith saw 117 touches behind Coleman as a rookie, and even if he plays a similar role with Freeman back, Freeman still finished ahead of his current ADP in both years in which Coleman eclipsed that number of touches.

There's always the risk that Freeman has some rust or is slowed by injuries, but his ADP captures that, and he could provide some great value for the season.

Devonta Freeman Week 1 Fantasy Outlook

Admittedly, Freeman opens the 2019 season with a tough Week 1 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, which sees the Falcons sitting as 3.5-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

The Vikings allowed bottom-12 fantasy production to opposing RBs in 2018, though backs did find some success against them in the passing game. Minnesota gave up the 11th most yards per target and ninth most yards per reception to running backs. Freeman is more than capable as a receiver, having notched 50-plus receptions in two of his four healthy seasons.

Projecting to return as a workhorse in Atlanta, we still have Freeman sitting 13th among running backs in our PPR rankings for Week 1.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.