UPDATE: Recent reports suggest that Jacquizz Rodgers will start Week 17, but many believe that he will split the carries with Devonta Freeman. Keep in mind there is risk in starting either rusher, and the team could lean on the hot hand in Week 17. That said, everything we said below applies, as Freeman is a super sleeper of the future, but as this recent report suggests, the Falcons are very capable of mishandling the situation and wasting Freeman’s talents. Start either rusher at your own risk in Week 17, but we sure hope we see Freeman get his chance to get starter carries so that he can prove that he is a special talent that has been trapped in a situation where he has not been used properly. Looking for Week 17 Power Rankings?
PREVIOUS UPDATE:Devonta Freeman was one of our breakout candidates this year, and unfortunately, the Falcons failed to utilize his talents. This is a complete oversight on their part, and we are hoping Freeman gets enough work in Week 17 to prove us right. He is a dynamic rusher with tons of RB2 upside if given the carries. If you need a secret weapon of a flex in Week 17, this might be your guy. Be certain to check back on Steven Jackson’s status heading into Week 17, but if S-Jax sits, and if Atlanta is smart, they will unleash the player we had hoped to see all season long. Looking for Week 17 Power Rankings?
Devonta Freeman rushed for 42 yards and 1TD on 12 carries in his final preseason contest against the Jaguars. He also pulled in five passes for 45 yards.
SMITTY: Out of all of the late-grab runners this year, Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman offer the most upside, and the kind of upside that can impact line-ups right away. Sure, both could start off slow… I doubt that they do, but it’s possible, but that’s why you don’t reach and use the ADP data to your advantage. For example, Devonta Freeman’s ADP is around 9.02 right now. That’s fantastic, as he could truly be this year’s surprise RB2, and I’m talking a very strong fantasy RB2! I doubt Steven Jackson stays healthy, and even if he does, my guess is Freeman will look 10x better at every turn. He has already proven he can pull in 3-5 passes a game, he has that skill set! He has proven he is a goal line back! He has that skill set. He is the real deal, folks. View our 2014 Top 10 Bold Predictions if you want more on Devonta Freeman. Yep, he cracked it!
It’s late July, so it’s time to reevaluate the 2014 Fantasy Football Rookies. Below is a one-player taste of our Premium 2014 Rookie Rankings with Analysis, so if you aren’t a 2014 STARTERS Subscriber, get access right after you read this sample (who is #5 on our Rookie Rankings)… after you read this, there are 11 more rookie write-ups just like it waiting for you, along with a complete ranking of my top 50 rookies… here we go!
5. Jordan Matthews | PHI WR
This 2014 rookie receiving class is just flat-out phenomenal, as we are talking about the 4th receiver ranked, and this receiver can be a fantasy WR1 if he develops properly. Jordan Matthews is 6-3, 212 pounds, but he plays like he is 6-5, 225 pounds. He has a long reach and has phenomenal spacial awareness. View this exact play right here to see what I mean… if you watched that play, you should have noticed not only Matthews’ timing pulling in the reception, but his innate ability to use his body to defend the area around the football. It’s an instinct most players don’t develop until their second or third NFL season, but Matthews has a natural instinct to use his body to position the defender where he wants the defender. It’s masterful if you take the time to watch him in acton. Like Brandin Cooks, Matthews couldn’t have landed in a more potent offense. And, in Matthews’ case, the Eagles are in need of a big-time possession receiver, and it appears Chip Kelly is going to immediately lean on the rookie. Don’t be surprised if Matthews makes a strong case for Rookie of the Year in 2014! It wouldn’t be shocking if the guy pulled in 55-60 receptions for 900-1000 yards and 6-7 scores as a rookie. The rookie receiver position is changing, and these guys are maturing much faster than they use to.
According to ESPN, Falcons RB Steven Jackson enters 2014 as the team’s starter, but the Falcons plan is to groom rookie Devonta Freeman as the future three-down back.
SMITTY: While we still need to see Devonta Freeman take an NFL snap, he is a promising young rookie running back. He isn’t a big runner, as he stands 5-8, 206 pounds, but the position is changing. Smaller backs are the new trend, and I firmly believe Atlanta will give Freeman every opportunity to grab the starting gig by mid-season (if not sooner). Freeman looks like one of the better rookie rushers for 2014, even if some rookie rushers have more long-term upside. If you ask me, Tre Mason is the most talented rookie in this 2014 rookie running back class, but he has Zac Stacy, a top 8-12 caliber fantasy/NFL rusher, sitting in front of him. Now, despite Stacy being a serious talent, I eventually see Mason thriving in this league. Bishop Sankey is really the only rookie rusher walking into a better immediate situation than Freeman. Terrence West, my second favorite rusher from this 2014 rookie class, has Ben Tate (potenital top 10 fantasy rusher this year) sitting in front of him, and Carlos Hyde still has Frank Gore and still-promising Marcus Lattimore sitting in front of him. West and Hyde will both likely thrive in time, maybe even as soon as 2015, but Freeman has strong immediate upside entering this upcoming season. Our 2014 fantasy football cheat sheets are 2014-ready, so see where all these guys rank!
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