In my weekly column, we take a long look at impact fantasy football rookies. I compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them. Let’s continue this 2014 version of the series by looking at one of my highest rated running backs, Devonta Freeman. I will look at some of his college production against his performance versus Carolina to discern his dynasty value.
Here are my thoughts after watching him in college: Despite his limited touches (under 200 each season of college), Freeman is a decisive back who appears to be able to carry an NFL workload as a feature back. He played at fullback, half back, and receiver. As a lead blocker, Freeman squared his shoulders, got good leverage, knocked his defender back, and opened up a seam to run thru. The back ran routes well enough to need corners to cover him. When acting as a pass blocker, he attacks the blitzers, squaring his shoulders, keeping contact throughout the block usually forcing them backwards. Freeman sees the pressure pre-snap and adjusts his stance to account for it. The back is good at selling fakes that freeze the defenders, giving his teammates an opportunity to get an extra step. When acting as a receiver, the runner adjusts to poorly thrown passes, runs crisp routes, fully extends to make the catch, and does his best to make the reception in stride for the biggest gain. Freeman is dangerous in the open field with his quickness and wiggle that makes defenders miss. He also comes back to assist the quarterback whether he needs an outlet receiver, or a block down the field to free up a running lane.