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zed2283

Devonta Freeman, RB (ATL)

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Humble kid. I'm glad I drafted him at 1.14 in a PPR dynasty rookie draft back in early June. Cheering for him on and off the field. Nice gesture by Luther.

Edited by RoosterScott

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Nice to see that the guy has a good head on his shoulders.

$250 for opening doors at a funeral home???? That's insane money. Most kids were getting minimum wage which was like $7-8 an hour back when he was a kid. $250 was a weeks worth of work.

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Falcons RBs coach Gerald Brown said Devonta Freeman is "going to be a really good receiver for us."

Freeman has reportedly shown "flashes" of every-down ability so far in camp, something we're watching very closely. Steven Jackson, already over the hill and a poor candidate to make it through the season, is currently sidelined by a multi-week hamstring pull. Note that Rotoworld's NCAA prospect guru Josh Norris was especially high on Andre Ellington and Zac Stacy last year. This year, his No. 1 running back in the draft was Freeman.
Source: ESPN.com
Jul 31 - 9:12 AM

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I admittedly do not watch a lot of college football, so I tend to rely on youtube videos more than I probably should. I've watched several on D.Freeman since he got drafted and I just do not see anything special about him. He looks like a solid college player and that's about it. Doesn't seem to break many tackles.

I own S.Jackson and I'm going to do my best to resist the knee-jerk reaction to draft Freeman when my pick is up. He may earn a role on the team, but I don't think he will end up worth a late 1st. The RB of the future is not on the team.

Again, just my uneducated, uninformed opinion.

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I don't see Freeman as a Frank Gore type but he reminds me of Brian Westbrook as a runner.

Westbrook-type receiving numbers would be nice as well.

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I admittedly do not watch a lot of college football, so I tend to rely on youtube videos more than I probably should. I've watched several on D.Freeman since he got drafted and I just do not see anything special about him. He looks like a solid college player and that's about it. Doesn't seem to break many tackles.

I own S.Jackson and I'm going to do my best to resist the knee-jerk reaction to draft Freeman when my pick is up. He may earn a role on the team, but I don't think he will end up worth a late 1st. The RB of the future is not on the team.

Again, just my uneducated, uninformed opinion.

I tend to agree, somewhat. I think there is better talent at WR to be taken at the end of the 1st if you still have rookie drafts, BUT, I did take a risk on him in one league where ADP's had been established and ended up with him and Davanta Adams at 1.08 and 2.08 respectively. I viewed their values as vice versa and still ended up where I wanted to be. It's a deep WR draft and good opportunities for RB's can be worth it.

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I admittedly do not watch a lot of college football, so I tend to rely on youtube videos more than I probably should. I've watched several on D.Freeman since he got drafted and I just do not see anything special about him. He looks like a solid college player and that's about it. Doesn't seem to break many tackles.

I own S.Jackson and I'm going to do my best to resist the knee-jerk reaction to draft Freeman when my pick is up. He may earn a role on the team, but I don't think he will end up worth a late 1st. The RB of the future is not on the team.

Again, just my uneducated, uninformed opinion.

Redraft

Was Joseph Addai special? I don't think you need to be all world in this offense at RB to be efficient and capable of posting steady RB2 numbers. If he can catch the ball then Quizz will have almost zero role on offense. If Freeman can run and catch so defenses don't key in on what he is going to do, that means a lot more opps IMHO.

Great info whoever posted the links. Owners are not excited about Freeman yet and maybe so but if in Week 1 of the preseason he looks solid, expect his asking price to climb a lot higher.

Edited by Mr Non Sequitur

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Reality check?

Fourth-round RB Devonta Freeman is listed as the Falcons' No. 4 running back on their initial depth chart.

Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith check in at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, behind Steven Jackson. It's hard to tell if it's simply the Falcons giving Rodgers the veteran edge because other rookies are sprinkled in on the first and second teams throughout the depth chart. Coaches recently called Rodgers the team's best pass protector. Freeman has a hill to climb, but should run circles around Rodgers in game action.

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Reality check?

Fourth-round RB Devonta Freeman is listed as the Falcons' No. 4 running back on their initial depth chart.

Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith check in at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, behind Steven Jackson. It's hard to tell if it's simply the Falcons giving Rodgers the veteran edge because other rookies are sprinkled in on the first and second teams throughout the depth chart. Coaches recently called Rodgers the team's best pass protector. Freeman has a hill to climb, but should run circles around Rodgers in game action.

Let's not forget that Freeman "should run circles around Rodgers in game action." :lol:

Edited by cloppbeast

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In redraft, Freeman seems like a great value. It's a high scoring offense likely to create a lot of GL opps and the main back is already hurt. If he doesn't pan out, then cutting him won't hurt much. If he takes over the job, he has a reasonable chance at being a equivalent to RBs being taken in the 4th round.

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Lovie has Chris Owusu starting over Mike Evans. I wouldn't read too closely into preseason depth charts.

Not before preseason week 1. Week 3? Absolutely.

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Last night on Hard Knocks they said something about him being the starter now that S-Jax was out. They didn't say much about Quiz.

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In redraft, Freeman seems like a great value. It's a high scoring offense likely to create a lot of GL opps and the main back is already hurt. If he doesn't pan out, then cutting him won't hurt much. If he takes over the job, he has a reasonable chance at being a equivalent to RBs being taken in the 4th round.

He's definitely someone I've been getting in mocks around the 9th/10th round. Low-risk/high-reward.

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The conversation between Mike Smith and the RBs coach on Freeman/Jackson was pretty interesting IMO. It was on the field, as practice was getting started and roughly went something as follows (paraphrasing from memory):

Smith: "Jackson's going to be down for a bit. He's in there with the training guys now getting treatment. Hamstring issue."

RBs Coach: "Are you serious? Same one?"

Smith: "Different one... he's gonna be down a few weeks."

RBs Coach: "Weeks?!"

Smith: "Yeah. But... let's look at the positive here. It's a chance to get Devonta more reps... get him ready to go, see what he's got."

RBs Coach: "Yeah. We'll get him ready."

Now - I'd like to land Freeman, but I think we do need to be realistic here. All draft slot arguments aside, it's pretty hard to find 4th round picks that hit big at the RB slot, even over the past few years. That's not to suggest he's not an outlier, but to say there's no risk is willfully ignoring it, IMO. He's got a great opportunity to shine now, and I do like the talent. Wish he was a little bigger and had a little better long speed, but he should instantly be better than Quizz, and may get an opportunity to push Jackson later in the season, audition for 2015. The problem is if he doesn't knock it out of the park like Ellington, for example, 2015's draft is STACKED with RBs, and Freeman could get passed over pretty quickly.

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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

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Wish he was a little bigger and had a little better long speed, but he should instantly be better than Quizz, and may get an opportunity to push Jackson later in the season, audition for 2015.

It seems like everybody assumes Freeman is instantly better than Rodgers, by virtue of the latter's lackluster career thus far. But I wouldn't be so sure. Not long ago, the sort-of-smallish JacQuizz entered the league as a late round pick with hopes to replace Michael Turner. His coaches talked him up as a three down back, correct me if I'm wrong. His beginning stages to his career eerily reminds me of the new rookie's. But alas, to go along with a small frame, Jacquizz didn't have much speed nor did he make people miss - again, eerily similar to Freeman.

To take it as a given means assuming Freeman will establish himself early in his career. I would call such an assumption of a 4th round pick dubious. Even if you like what you see here, I would still tread a little lightly. Historically speaking, based on his draft status there's a pretty good chance Devonta isn't much better than Rodgers.

Acknowledging our fallibility, we really must admit we don't know which of these two has more (or, mostly, less) talent. But, we do know for certain JacQuizz has something Freeman doesn't: experience in this offense.

Edited by cloppbeast
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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

Recency bias / anecdotal evidence.

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Wish he was a little bigger and had a little better long speed, but he should instantly be better than Quizz, and may get an opportunity to push Jackson later in the season, audition for 2015.

It seems like everybody assumes Freeman is instantly better than Rodgers, by virtue of the latter's lackluster career thus far. But I wouldn't be so sure. Not long ago, the sort-of-smallish JacQuizz entered the league as a late round pick with hopes to replace Michael Turner. His coaches talked him up as a three down back, correct me if I'm wrong. His beginning stages to his career eerily reminds me of the new rookie's. But alas, to go along with a small frame, Jacquizz didn't have much speed nor did he make people miss - again, eerily similar to Freeman.

To take it as a given means assuming Freeman will establish himself early in his career. I would call such an assumption of a 4th round pick dubious. Even if you like what you see here, I would still tread a little lightly. Historically speaking, based on his draft status there's a pretty good chance Devonta isn't much better than Rodgers.

Acknowledging our fallibility, we really must admit we don't know which of these two has more (or, mostly, less) talent. But, we do know for certain JacQuizz has something Freeman doesn't: experience.

I agree - that's what I was angling at when I said to dismiss the risk is folly. He *should* be better than Quizz because the bar isn't very high, and I think Freeman is fairly talented. There are no guarantees there. The whole situation is eerily similar - Quizz was talked up as a 3-down guy, was hyped as the Turner heir, etc. They acquired Jackson the following season. Same could easily happen to Freeman.

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I agree - that's what I was angling at when I said to dismiss the risk is folly. He *should* be better than Quizz because the bar isn't very high, and I think Freeman is fairly talented. There are no guarantees there. The whole situation is eerily similar - Quizz was talked up as a 3-down guy, was hyped as the Turner heir, etc. They acquired Jackson the following season. Same could easily happen to Freeman.

100%

Never spend your rookie pick on situation, because it will change quickly if said player does not dictate his destiny.

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Top 32 rushers last year:

1st round: 10

2nd round: 7

3rd round: 4

4th round: 2

5th round: 1

6th round: 1

7th round: 1

Undrafted: 5

Draft position is not as much an indication of success as opportunity. Very few teams give a 4th round or later pick a chance to hold the job. But the ones who do can go as far as their talent allows.

Lamar miller is getting a chance to compete this year. Zac Stacy won his job outright. So did Ellington. Fred Jackson had out produced a top ten pick in Buffalo. Rashad Jennings parlayed a good second half into a starting job in ny. Joique bell took time to develop but he looks legit, too.

Then theres guys like benjarvus, who was a solid producer when called upon but was too one dimensional to be a feature back. Blount has shown flashes but isn't the receiver or goal line guy teams want as a feature back. Their skill set has put then in good position to get carries but not to hold down a feature job.

In the last two years, four backs were drafted in the 4th round. Marcus Lattimore and Jonathan Franklin are incomplete. Franklin got hurt but looked good in limited action, and Lattimore still isn't recovered from the injury that pushed him to the 4th. 2012 pick Lamar miller is the presumptive starter in miami, and Robert turbin was drafted to back up lynch, so he never got a real shot. 2011 pick Roy helu has done everything that was asked of him but he wasn't drafted to be a feature back. Kendall hunter was stuck behind gore and san fran keeps drafting backs. Ditto Jamie harper, who was drafted behind a two thousand yard runner. There have been some busts, like Taiwan Jones, job McKnight and delone carter, and some meh picks like Bilal and Mike Goodson, but mostly the 4th round rb success rate is tied to opportunity, and freeman appears to have thay.

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In redraft, Freeman seems like a great value. It's a high scoring offense likely to create a lot of GL opps and the main back is already hurt. If he doesn't pan out, then cutting him won't hurt much. If he takes over the job, he has a reasonable chance at being a equivalent to RBs being taken in the 4th round.

He's definitely someone I've been getting in mocks around the 9th/10th round. Low-risk/high-reward.

He will probably fly up the board though, especially with HK exposure, I forgot about the show. If he looks decent in preseason, he might pass SJax.

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In redraft, Freeman seems like a great value. It's a high scoring offense likely to create a lot of GL opps and the main back is already hurt. If he doesn't pan out, then cutting him won't hurt much. If he takes over the job, he has a reasonable chance at being a equivalent to RBs being taken in the 4th round.

He's definitely someone I've been getting in mocks around the 9th/10th round. Low-risk/high-reward.

He will probably fly up the board though, especially with HK exposure, I forgot about the show. If he looks decent in preseason, he might pass SJax.

You could be right, which then would make SJax the value pick

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I don't think it is that it is fair to group him with all 4th round picks. First off, this was a stacked draft class. He probably would have been an earlier pick in other drafts. Secondly, he was the 3rd pick in the 4th, so that is pretty early.

He was projected as a 2nd-3rd round, so I am not sure why he fell a little.

It will be interesting to see where he compares to the other RBs of this class. Particularly, the ones drafted near him. DRI Archer, McKinnon, and Terrance West,

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Adding stipulations introduces bias. You can acknowledge a correlation between draft status and NFL success or not, but you can't pick an choose your cases after the fact.

Using bostonfred's own numbers, running backs drafted in the first 3 rounds made up over 2/3 of the top 32 rushers last year. Which means, assuming each round has roughly the same amount ball carriers selected, one taken in the first 96 picks is roughly 3 times more likely to succeed. You must note a 4th round selection doesn't have a much better rate than a 5th-UDFA.

Edited by cloppbeast

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I don't think it is that it is fair to group him with all 4th round picks. First off, this was a stacked draft class. He probably would have been an earlier pick in other drafts. Secondly, he was the 3rd pick in the 4th, so that is pretty early.

He was projected as a 2nd-3rd round, so I am not sure why he fell a little.

It will be interesting to see where he compares to the other RBs of this class. Particularly, the ones drafted near him. DRI Archer, McKinnon, and Terrance West,

If you factor Freeman's projected round into his draft status, in the name of fairness you'd have to do the same thing for every other player. Further, do you trust a player's expert draft projection, or a player's actual draft slot by GMs and coaches?

Whether or not this draft is stacked with running backs can be debated, and it's sort of an arbitrary assertion to factor. I don't really buy it anyhow. If this draft so overflowed with quality talented backs, I don't think the NFL would have waited until the middle second to take the first one - which I think is the latest ever. Last year 6 running backs were taken in the 2nd round compared to 3 this year. I agree this draft was riddled with average backs, helping to explain the heavy amount of 3rd and 4th round selections.

Edited by cloppbeast

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Reality check?

Fourth-round RB Devonta Freeman is listed as the Falcons' No. 4 running back on their initial depth chart.

Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith check in at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, behind Steven Jackson. It's hard to tell if it's simply the Falcons giving Rodgers the veteran edge because other rookies are sprinkled in on the first and second teams throughout the depth chart. Coaches recently called Rodgers the team's best pass protector. Freeman has a hill to climb, but should run circles around Rodgers in game action.

Totally meaningless.

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The draft also has a lot to do with what a specific team needs. Charles Simms went pretty early to the Bucs, but they weren't necessarily looking for the prototype RB.

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Adding stipulations introduces bias. You can acknowledge a correlation between draft status and NFL success or not, but you can't pick an choose your cases after the fact.

Using bostonfred's own numbers, running backs drafted in the first 3 rounds made up over 2/3 of the top 32 rushers last year. Which means, assuming each round has roughly the same amount ball carriers selected, one taken in the first 96 picks is roughly 3 times more likely to succeed. You must note a 4th round selection doesn't have a much better rate than a 5th-UDFA.

Fair point. Why do you think first round picks tend to succeed? Is it because of a huge disparity in talent? Maybe. But it's also because they have opportunity. I can't remember a first round rb that didn't get a shot to start. Robert turbin on the other hand never had a chance to start ahead of lynch, but was widely hyped and is still ahead of fantasy darling Christine Michael.

I can't remember a first round rb who was drafted to be a package player. But there are plenty of Roy helu types who get drafted later to be goal line or third down specialists. Benjarvus has started for two premier offenses in the nfl. But he's never been a feature back.

Which brings us to my point. First round backs are drafted almost exclusively to be feature backs. Second rounders often are too, but not necessarily. Third and fourth round backs are usually either specialists, or generalists with flaws. Like lattimore, who was a feature back with a huge flaw. Or Andre Williams, who has some talent but isn't much of a receiver. Or helu who is a plus receiver but mat be not a stud runner between the tackles.

In freeman's case, his flaw is that he's not elite in any area. He's a good all around player with decent speed, but he's not a 4.4 guy. He's a little small, but he's not 190 lbs or anything. He's a 4.56 40, 209 lb back.

His other flaw is what Bob Magaw was calling a lack of pedigree. He shared carries in college. That is less of a concern to me than if he had a structural weakness, like stone hands or a fumbling problem or a heighr/weight issue. Remember that Tom Brady slid to the sixth because he wasn't the outright starter.

I posted earlier that I think calling him a fourth rounder is a bit disingenuous since he was picked with one of the very first picks on day three and backs in general have been going later.

I think it's also worth looking at why 1/3 of the top 30 rushers last year were taken in the fourth or later. There is an opportunity here and I am interested in seeing what he can do with it. I don't think it makes sense to write him off because of the round he was taken.

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John Middlekauff@JohnMiddlekauff · 12h

Feel like we will never see another meaningful carry from Steven Jackson.

I realize this isn't newsworthy in itself. Just an isolated opinion of an SF Bay Area radio host. As a worried S Jackson owner, I too wonder if ever has another meaninful carry. Hamstring injuries are fickle, even more so for old guys like Jackson. Freeman seems to have all the dominoes falling perfect for him to jump in and have a monster year right out of the gate.

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After watching Hard Knocks last night (and I have to be careful because the editing can often skew reality), I came away feeling that SJAX's heart doesn't really seem to be in it. That he's accomplished what he set out to accomplish as a football player and is already looking on to the next chapter in his life. If he does get injured during the season I can't see him rushing himself back for the sake of contributing. Football isn't the end-all/be-all for him anymore (see Arian Foster). After watching I downgraded SJAX quite a bit and will not be drafting him unless he slips much farther than I expect he will in my league.

That being said, I'm not sure Devonta is the answer. I couldn't believe how small he looked (and he's not a compact, powerful small). If/when SJAX does go down, I can't see Mike Smith turning over the keys to this kid in 2014. I think it will be a RBBC that I will not want any part of.

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Fair point. Why do you think first round picks tend to succeed? Is it because of a huge disparity in talent? Maybe. But it's also because they have opportunity. I can't remember a first round rb that didn't get a shot to start. Robert turbin on the other hand never had a chance to start ahead of lynch, but was widely hyped and is still ahead of fantasy darling Christine Michael.

I can't remember a first round rb who was drafted to be a package player. But there are plenty of Roy helu types who get drafted later to be goal line or third down specialists. Benjarvus has started for two premier offenses in the nfl. But he's never been a feature back.

Which brings us to my point. First round backs are drafted almost exclusively to be feature backs. Second rounders often are too, but not necessarily. Third and fourth round backs are usually either specialists, or generalists with flaws. Like lattimore, who was a feature back with a huge flaw. Or Andre Williams, who has some talent but isn't much of a receiver. Or helu who is a plus receiver but mat be not a stud runner between the tackles.

In freeman's case, his flaw is that he's not elite in any area. He's a good all around player with decent speed, but he's not a 4.4 guy. He's a little small, but he's not 190 lbs or anything. He's a 4.56 40, 209 lb back.

His other flaw is what Bob Magaw was calling a lack of pedigree. He shared carries in college. That is less of a concern to me than if he had a structural weakness, like stone hands or a fumbling problem or a heighr/weight issue. Remember that Tom Brady slid to the sixth because he wasn't the outright starter.

I posted earlier that I think calling him a fourth rounder is a bit disingenuous since he was picked with one of the very first picks on day three and backs in general have been going later.

I think it's also worth looking at why 1/3 of the top 30 rushers last year were taken in the fourth or later. There is an opportunity here and I am interested in seeing what he can do with it. I don't think it makes sense to write him off because of the round he was taken.

We all use some rhetoric from time to time, and I slightly disingenuously use the fourth round moniker to prove my point. Our individual perceptions of Freeman fuel our assessment of this Atlanta backfield, as well they should. We all have late round players we believe in, and those we don't, but either way I think we should still accept draft status as a general odds-maker.

It helps to analyze why higher drafted players make up the majority of the elite fantasy producers - opportunity has a lot to do with it. Often, with few exceptions, coaches will give their highly regarded guy an opportunity whereas the lower pick has to earn it. Into which category do you think Feeman falls? I would argue he needs to prove his worth to get immediate playing time, at least he has to do better than Rodgers. You could argue this puts him in better position than many other mid rounders.

Thinking long term though, this whole business may not matter. Assuming Freeman beats out Rodgers and Jackson retires, he will have had to establish himself to prevent Atlanta from making other arrangements. Even if he has a better shot at an opportunity than an average mid round pick, he only won half the battle. He still has the same likelihood of ceasing it. We can't ignore the draft as a barometer of talent; we should really play the odds about whether or not he will keep the job. Sometimes mid round guys are good, but unfortunately often they aren't.

Edited by cloppbeast

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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

Recency bias / anecdotal evidence.

Interesting. On the contrary, the league is in constant change and the most recent history is of greatest relevancy. Are you also ignoring the wide spread use of RBBC approach due to recency bias?

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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

Recency bias / anecdotal evidence.

Interesting. On the contrary, the league is in constant change and the most recent history is of greatest relevancy. Are you also ignoring the wide spread use of RBBC approach due to recency bias?

The reports of RBBC use are equally anecdotal as the first example

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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

Recency bias / anecdotal evidence.

Interesting. On the contrary, the league is in constant change and the most recent history is of greatest relevancy. Are you also ignoring the wide spread use of RBBC approach due to recency bias?

For one thing, you're not observing a trend so much as pointing out a few late round picks doing well last year. How does Zac Stacy and Andre Ellington have anything to do with Devonte Freeman? Two guys does not constitute as a trend.

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Hope the hype dies down a little bit so I can pick him up late 1st/early 2nd rd of rookie drafts.

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It feels like the draft position of RBs relative to their success is becoming less relevant due to the overall devaluation of the position. Last year Stacy was taken in the 5th round and Ellington in the 6th round, and both had very productive seasons.

Recency bias / anecdotal evidence.

Interesting. On the contrary, the league is in constant change and the most recent history is of greatest relevancy. Are you also ignoring the wide spread use of RBBC approach due to recency bias?

For one thing, you're not observing a trend so much as pointing out a few late round picks doing well last year. How does Zac Stacy and Andre Ellington have anything to do with Devonte Freeman? Two guys does not constitute as a trend.

My initial post was in response to Freeman's draft position. There are more than those two that have been fantasy relevant despite their draft position. How about Morris? Ellington? Ridley?

Sure feels like a trend to me. :-D

Edited by 32 Counter Pass

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My initial post was in response to Freeman's draft position. There are more than those two that have been fantasy relevant despite their draft position. How about Morris? Ellington? Ridley?

Sure feels like a trend to me. :-D

A low percentage of late round running backs make the impact of those you mentioned.

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For one thing, you're not observing a trend so much as pointing out a few late round picks doing well last year. How does Zac Stacy and Andre Ellington have anything to do with Devonte Freeman? Two guys does not constitute as a trend.

I agree with this point. But I also think there are a couple trends that we have seen.

First is the general devaluation of the position. It's not surprising to see later draft picks or lower paid journeymen do well when the league just isn't paying top dollar for running back talent anymore. Maybe Jeremy Hill and Eddie Lacy would have been borderline first rounders five or ten years ago. Now they slide to the second. Maybe Freeman, at 5'8" and 208 lbs with 4.56 speed, isn't that far off Frank Gore at 5'9" 217 running a 4.58. Gore was an early third rounder. Freeman was an early fourth. With the success of the second round running backs last year, it's reasonable to say that good talent is going cheaper than it used to. It would be a fallacy to say that that means Freeman is good. But it's every bit as much a fallacy to say that his draft position means that he's not.

The second is the more specific case of smaller running backs succeeding. Zac Stacy is 5'8" 216 lbs and ran a 4.53 40. Ellington is 5'9" and bulked up to 210. He ran a 4.54 40. Ray Rice is 5'8" 212. He ran a significantly faster 4.42 40. LeSean McCoy is 5'11" 208 lbs and ran a 4.5 40. There's some fluctuation here, but all of these guys are relatively small and have held up to the pounding. That doesn't mean that every little guy will succeed in the NFL, but there are a lot of guys under 5'10" and under 220 lbs running the 40 in more than 4.4 who are succeeding. We might prefer if he were a 4.24 40 like Chris Johnson, but people don't seem to think Johnson is all that great these days, so maybe we wouldn't.

The third is that teams are using a few distinct strategies to staff the running back position. A lot of the better backs in the NFL are stuck in committees right now. There are three quality backs in Buffalo, a couple very good ones in Cincinatti, as many as three very good ones in Seattle, a bundle in San Francisco, a few more good ones in New England, and so on. How does that happen? Some teams are stockpiling talent at the position, while others are grabbing one stud and hoping he stays healthy, and others are willing to go cheaper at the position and hope that their guy can is good enough to shoulder the load they're given. I'd like to say that Freeman is one of those true studs, but there's no reason to believe that yet. There's also no reason to believe he's on a loaded team. SJax is getting old, and is already hurt. Jacquizz was briefly tagged as the heir apparent, but he hasn't been good enough to hang onto the role. Unless he pans out to be a diamond in the rough, the most likely case is that Freeman's on a team that's gone cheaper at the position, and is hoping that he is good enough to shoulder the load. They seem to believe he has lead back/feature back potential and have said so repeatedly. I tend to agree - he can block, catch, run inside, run outside and score TDs. I don't need him to be elite at all of those things, I just want him to be good enough to keep getting fed in all the ways that give me fantasy points.

I don't have a crystal ball and I don't know how good Freeman can be, but I know that running backs have short careers, and I'd rather have a guy who gets his opportunity early than a guy who might not get it at all (Lattimore, Turbin) or might not get it until much later in their careers (Gerhart, McKinnon) or might be considered one dimensional (Helu, Blount, Andre Williams). What I like about Freeman is that he appears set to get that opportunity, and that he's capable in all of the dimensions that get him on the field and keep him there to get receptions, yards and touchdowns. He still has to do well enough with that opportunity to keep the job, but I'll gladly take someone who has the opportunity over someone who doesn't, and there's a very short list of young running backs who have that opportunity. If he pans out, he's a valuable, scarce commodity.

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Rotoworld:

Devonta Freeman - RB - Falcons

Falcons OC Dirk Koetter believes fourth-round RB Devonta Freeman is "coming along fine," but has been just "OK" in pass protection.

"I think thats the biggest adjustment for a running back going from college to the NFL," Koetter said. "He had a great college career but teams try to test rookie running backs. ... Theres a learning curve. Hes on the right track." Blitz pick up is annually the biggest challenge for rookie backs, but Freeman was an able pass protector at Florida State. If he shows well in the preseason, he could have a huge Week 1 role with Steven Jackson's (hamstring) status up in the air.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Aug 7 - 2:16 PM

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With Steven Jackson's hamstring injury keeping him out this preseason, the Atlanta Falcons will lean on running back Devonta Freeman.
The fourth-round pick out of Florida State has potential, but offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said Thursday it's "too early to say" if the rookie can carry the load.
"Devonta is coming along fine," Koetter said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He runs hard, is eager, is willing, does not back down from anything. He can catch the ball, strong hands, fast. He's got all of the qualities. It's just he's a rookie in the NFL and he's going to go through some growing pains."
In the first episode of Hard Knocks this week we saw Freeman get constant tutoring from coaches and Jackson. It seemed as though they knew the rookie could be asked to play a big role. (Oddly enough Jacquizz Rodgers appeared absent from any practice reps footage.)
According to Koetter, the biggest hurdle for Freeman to conquer -- like most rookies -- will be pass blocking, which the coordinator called "OK" thus far, even though he performed the task well in college.
"I think that's the biggest adjustment for a running back going from college to the NFL," Koetter said. "He had a great college career but teams try to test rookie running backs. They've got those big outside linebackers. There's a lot of protections, there's a lot of calls. There's a learning curve. He's on the right track."
With Jackson's injury history, Freeman will no doubt create late-round draft buzz in fantasy football leagues.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000375023/article/falcons-oc-davonta-freeman-enduring-growing-pains

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Didn't see the game but I think he just put up more yards than any other RB so far in the preseason. Did he look good? How did he do in pass protection? Was he the starter?

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Bad news: Not the starter. Jacquizz got a goal line TD with the first team offense.

Good news: 10 carries for 50 yards and a 4th quarter reception for 57 yards.

He appears to have earned more time.

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He looked good running the ball and he was wide open on a wheel route. He's the one RB the Falcons have that can put his foot in the ground and explode upfield. I didn't see any breakdowns in his pass pro, although nothing stood out here. Ultimately, this will decide how often he'll get on the field sans injury.

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