Patience is beginning to run a little thin for owners of Devonta Freeman. It’s an understandable feeling. Though no one was expecting Ito Smith to not have a defined role in this backfield coming into 2019, Tevin Coleman’s exit to San Francisco was viewed as a potential catalyst for Freeman to once again cash in on the promise he showed throughout 2015 and 2016. Well, at least the last two weeks, that has very much not been the case. Despite having played more snaps, garnered more carries, and seen a higher rate of targets than Smith; Freeman’s been held under 10 points in a PPR setting in both matchups and he’s averaging a putrid 2.2 yards per attempt. It’s been ugly to watch.
However, for those willing to give Freeman one more chance, the veteran will have no excuses for not producing in Week 3 against a banged-up Colts defense — specifically through the air. In 2018, no AFC team surrendered more targets per contest to opposing RBs (8.8) or a higher a higher positional target rate (26 percent); and those trends have apparently carried over into this season. Indianapolis has allowed the third-most PPR fantasy points to running backs through two games, with Austin Ekeler amassing 154 scrimmage yards and Derrick Henry following that performance up with 94 scrimmage yards of his own. I wouldn’t expect the Colts’ defense to instantly become more stout with All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard sidelined, either.
Fantasy Impact: Indianapolis has been gashed on the ground to the tune of an AFC-worst 5.21 adjusted yards per opponent carry in 2019. This is a dream matchup for any running back and one that you’ll unlikely be able to pass upon unless you’ve struck gold on the waiver wire early in the season. If Freeman can’t be viable in this spot, he’ll surely find himself riding the pine in Week 4’s matchup against the Titans.