When to Target the Atlanta Falcons in Fantasy Drafts

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Matt Ryan /
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ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 14: Devonta Freeman (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 14: Devonta Freeman (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

RB Devonta Freeman

End of Round 1; Projection – 1028 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 414 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns: 202.20 fantasy points

Devonta Freeman has defined what it means to be a consistent running back the past two seasons — finishing as the RB1 in 2015 and as the RB6 in 2016.

Freeman gives fantasy drafters something coveted in the first round — a high floor. He is a safe pick in a round where drafting a bust could kill a team’s fantasy hopes. Freeman has recorded the second most yards from scrimmage in the NFL the past two seasons, trailing only teammate Julio Jones. He’s also someone who is a near lock to reach double digit total touchdowns. His prowess catching the ball out of the backfield is what really raises that floor.

Despite the high floor, there are some factors working against Freeman, and keeping him from being a high end first round pick. The presence of Tevin Coleman, stealing touches and touchdown opportunities, puts a cap on Freeman’s ceiling. Additionally, the emphasis to target Julio Jones more in the redzone will hurt Freeman more than anyone, and will probably result in the Florida State man recording fewer than 10 rushing TDs for the first time since his rookie season.

Freeman should go somewhere around the round 1/round 2 turn, in a similar tier as fellow RBs Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, and Melvin Gordon. If you have a chance to take WR Mike Evans or RB Lesean McCoy with your selection over Freeman then you should do so.