Devonta Freeman spent the first six years of his career with the Falcons but the 28-year-old running back was released by Atlanta this offseason. Freeman has yet to sign with a new team but that will likely change once NFL teams start Training Camp.
There’s a handful of teams that could be in need of a veteran rusher including the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams have second-year backs taking over as the starter in David Montgomery and Miles Sanders. Freeman would bring some much-needed experience to both backfields along with a versatile skill-set.
Sports Illustrated’s Fantasy analyst, Corey Parson, suggests drafting Freeman now, even though he’s “team-less” would be a shrewd move for fantasy football players.
Read the full transcript from the interview with Corey Parson and Kaitlin O’Toole.
Kaitlin O'Toole: Sports Illustrated is taking you inside the world's fantasy sports. Joining me now is SI's fantasy and gambling analyst Corey Parson. Corey, let's talk about Devonta Freeman. Do you think he gets on the roster before training camp?
Corey Parson: I tell you what, Kaitlin, that is an interesting question. So interesting that I thought that you wouldn't be asking this only a couple of years after Devonta Freeman became the highest-paid running back in NFL. But you know what, he's fallen on hard times. Foot and knee injuries, not to mention a couple of concussions have really slowed things down for him. He got released by Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason, but what I will say is this: I do think there are some opportunities out there for him. For example, the Chicago Bears, David Montgomery was a rookie last year, but he ran for less than 4 yards a carry. You also have Tarik Cohen, but I do think that that could be a possible fit for Freeman because of his ability to catch balls out the backfield. You look at the situation in Tampa Bay. I think Tom Brady would like to use a person like Freeman in the backfield in Tampa. Now, they do have Ronald Jones and they did draft Ke'Shawn Vaughn. So it'd have to be a three-person committee out there. But, you know, this is as far as getting across, I think that could be an idea also. The Philadelphia Eagles also have a ton of running backs on their roster I think could be a situation where you could have him step in that spot. Yet Myles Sanders really seems to be the guy in Philadelphia, so I do like him to keep that job. I think a spot like the Bears is an interesting option. Not to mention also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kaitlin O'Toole: Okay, Corey, but you mentioned that he's had some trouble staying healthy. So I want to talk about fantasy. Will he have value this season since we know that.
Corey Parson: Well, here's the tough part right here. When it comes to fantasy value, it is like you said, that the health concerns and not to mention the fact that he currently doesn't have a team. But right now in Best Ball drafts, Devonta Freeman is not being drafted at all, which is not correct because Devonta Freeman has a very special and unique skill set for fantasy. Two of them, as a matter of fact: he can catch the football out of the backfield, which makes him very good for fantasy and he has a nose for the goal line. He scored 33 touchdowns in a three-season span. I think that Freeman does have some value because of the ability to catch the football out of the backfield and being able to score touchdowns. So, no, don't leave him on the board in early Best Ball drafts. I'll go ahead and scoop Freeman up because I do think a couple of weeks in this season, he'll be in your optimized lineup.
Kaitlin O'Tool: OK. Corey, thank you so much for the insight. I really appreciate it. For the latest fantasy and game analysis, stay with SI.com/fantasy.