Devonta Freeman: The #24 Show

Louis Jarvis

The Falcons came charging out of the gates this NFL season. Even though they lost to the Saints in a division game two Thursdays ago, the ball club still stands at 6-1: second in the NFC South Division. While their schedule hasn’t been too difficult so far, the Falcons still managed to cruise through the all four NFC East teams, the Houston Texans, and the Titans. What has been their key to success? Devonta Freeman. This guy has been unreal.

Aside from being a fantasy god, Freeman has proved himself to be a top back in the NFL this season. I had the burden of drafting Jamaal Charles in my fantasy league; however, I was also given a gift from the waiver wire in the form of Devonta Freeman. The numbers he has been putting up this season are simply ridiculous.

Week Opponent Rush Yards Rush TDs Receiving Yards Receiving TDs Fantasy Points (PPR)
Week 1 Eagles 18 0 29 0 7.70
Week 2 NY Giants 25 1 34 0 15.90
Week 3 Cowboys 141 3 52 0 42.30
Week 4 Texans 68 3 81 0 37.90
Week 5 Redskins 153 1 44 0 32.70
Week 6 Saints 100 1 56 1 35.60
Week 7 Titans 116 0 14 0 15.00
Week 8 (Projected) Buccaneers 43095 38 12094 8 ERROR

It’s safe to say that Freeman is on one of the most unparalleled fantasy football tears of all time. When all is said and done at the end of the season, Freeman will find his name near the top of the fantasy history books.

Question One: Is Freeman actually good?

Statistically speaking, Freeman is as good as anyone in the league. Nonetheless, Freeman has been questioned this season. NFL fans are confused as to weather Freeman is actually good instead of just being a statistical god. Well I’m here to tell you that Devonta Freeman is good. Not amazing, but good. In terms of skill I’d just edge him in as a top 5 back. The emerging runner gets lots of carries, and lots of catches. What he’s done is impressive, and we should praise him for that. Freeman has only had one fumble this so season so far, so he also holds the skill of ball security. He is great at finding open spaces for big yardage plays and he is solid at creating space for short passes, especially off the screen. Devonta is an explosive player. Once he has the ball he can pick up speed and manage to break tackles easily.

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Question Two: Does Devonta Freeman make the Falcons an elite team?

Devonta is a huge asset for the Falcons. However, I still don’t buy into the hype that the Falcons are as good as they seem. Even though they came out 5-0 (now 6-1), the Falcons beat all four teams from the NFC East, debatably the worst division in football. Included in their wins are the underwhelming Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Going 5-0 is impressive but I wouldn’t put them in the same class as the Bengals. And even saying that the Bengals are good is a stretch. The triple threat of Matt Ryan, Freeman, and Julio Jones (who is having a stellar year as well) is easily a top 5 QB-RB-WR combo. However, when playoff time comes around could you see the Falcons taking a win over a team like the Patriots, Packers, Broncos, Panthers, Bengals, or even the Steelers? I can’t see it. The Falcons have impressed, there’s no doubt about that. Freeman is good, but I still wouldn’t call the Falcons a top elite team this NFL season.

Question Three: Can Freeman sustain this crazy pace?

Freeman currently ranks fifth in rush yards per game at 88.7, only 1.5 yards behind Doug Martin. After his game against the Saints, Freeman actually had more rushing touchdowns alone than any other team in the NFL had total. Freeman has four more TDs than Jeremy Hill of the Bengals, and Mark Ingram of the Saints, and the third most receiving yards of all backs. This includes Freeman’s Week 1 dud game. Devonta has a balanced game that produces all around production. To say Freeman is going to put 35 fantasy points a week for the rest of the season seems optimistic, but there is nothing stopping him from producing great numbers and more importantly adding to the Falcons W column.

Devonta Freeman is 23, and he has time to develop. Don’t be surprised if he becomes the best running back in the NFL at any point in his career. The skills are there and the potential is sky high. The same goes for the Falcons. They have an opportunity to become elite in the near future. Time to sit back, relax, and the enjoy the #24 show.