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What to do with Devonta Freeman in fantasy football Week 16

Jacksonville has been unable to limit opposing RBs in recent weeks. Does that fact alone make Devonta Freeman a must-start?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There really hasn’t been a lot of mystery to how the Falcons have divided their running back snaps the past three weeks. Devonta Freeman’s been healthy and, quite simply, Devonta Freeman has been by far the team’s featured back. Going back to a Week 12 Thanksgiving Day loss to New Orleans, Freeman’s logged at least 65.0% of Atlanta’s offensive snaps, with the veteran RB even seeing an incredibly notable 79.1% snap share last Sunday versus San Francisco. This isn’t empty volume, either. With the Falcons running the NFL’s seventh-highest paced offense, the team has averaged an eye-popping 71.0 plays per game within this span of time. That’s a whole lot of opportunities for Freeman to get the ball.

Now, to be fair, Freeman hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with the 56 touches he’s garnered in his past three starts, yet it is important to recognize that his best fantasy performance in this stretch came against the Panthers. In that contest, Freeman not only racked up 94 scrimmage yards and four catches, but he also notched his first rushing touchdown of the season against a Carolina defense that ranks dead-last versus the run according to DVOA. Which team sits second-from-the-bottom by that same Football Outsiders’ metric? Obviously the Jaguars, Freeman’s upcoming opponent.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman

Despite the fact that Freeman’s been a relatively underwhelming fantasy asset in 2019, there are a couple of undeniable truths staring us all in the face as we inch closer to Week 16. First, few running backs can claim to have the locked-in volume that Freeman has demonstrated since he’s returned from a brief injury hiatus. Second, Jacksonville’s surrendered a league-worst 167.4 rushing yards per contest on the road this season, along with an AFC-worst 19 opponent rushing touchdowns in 14 games overall. Maybe it’s asking too much for Freeman to break off his first 100-yard rushing performance on Championship Sunday; however, the combination of elite volume and a good matchup is too enticing to ignore.

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