Devonta Freeman has been ruled out for Week 2, so Tevin Coleman is a safe start for his fantasy football owners.
Over the last three seasons plus one game, the Atlanta Falcons have provided fantasy football owners with two viable running backs. Devonta Freeman is No. 1 on the depth chart, but Tevin Coleman has been a nice complementary piece.
Freeman left Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles with a knee injury, and he missed practice all week. So it was not all that shocking when Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told reporters Freeman will not play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Coleman salvaged a fantasy day with a rushing touchdown against the Eagles after Freeman left the game. But he’s going to get a start on Sunday, with rookie Ito Smith as his primary backup. The Panthers held Ezekiel Elliott to 69 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and three catches (on four targets) for 17 yards last week. So it’s a tough matchup for Coleman, the Falcons running game and the Atlanta offense as a whole. But the promise of volume raises Coleman’s fantasy floor.
In three games without Freeman, Coleman has averaged 19 carries and 83.3 yards per game with three combined rushing scores. That’s good for right around 15 fantasy points per game, give or take based on standard (14.8) or full-point PPR scoring (15.2 points per game).
Coleman is owned in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues and 91.9 percent of ESPN leagues, so running to the waiver wire to add him is not really an option (though it’s worth checking just to make sure he’s not available in your league).
Freeman is not thought to be facing a long-term absence. But it’s at least a bit concerning that some extra time between games, after the Thursday night season opener, did not help him even reach a questionable tag on Friday’s injury report.
But for Coleman’s fantasy owners, who often have to struggle with when to put him in a lineup and where (RB2? Flex?), there is no such issue in Week 2. He’s a legit RB2, even in a tough matchup, with the expectation of 20-25 touches.