Drafted as a top-20 pick in fantasy over the summer, Devonta Freeman was obviously someone owners had planned to lean on pretty heavily throughout the 2018 season. It’s turned into one to completely forget both for Freeman, fantasy owners, and even the 2-4 Falcons, who were considered Super Bowl contenders but find themselves tied for last place in the NFC South.
The Falcons have already been hit incredibly hard by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, losing stalwarts SS Keanu Neal (torn ACL), FS Ricardo Allen (Achilles’), and MLB Deion Jones (foot) to season-ending injuries. The bug isn’t stopping there, as now Freeman is headed to injured reserve and needs groin surgery. This comes after Freeman missed Weeks 2-4 with a sprained MCL only to hurt both his foot and groin when he returned in Week 5 against the Steelers. Freeman pondered playing through the injuries but has instead opted to go under the knife and cost himself at least eight games. Since Freeman will be unable to return until Week 16 at the earliest, his fantasy year is essentially over. It made little sense for the Falcons, who have capable backs in Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, to let Freeman eat up a a roster spot for two months with hopes he could return sooner.
Coleman slides into the Falcons' 1A role with fourth-round rookie Smith occupying the 1B. Both should see plenty of work. Coleman, who has struggled this year, will be an RB2. There might not be much separation between him and Smith. Where Smith is available in fantasy leagues, he needs to jump straight to the top of the add list playing in one of the league’s most lethal offenses that is always going to be chasing points because of Atlanta’s horrid defense. Freeman has now missed 6-of-22 games since signing a six-year, $43.088 million contract in August 2017. It's fair to wonder if the 5-foot-8 back is starting to break down at age 26. Coleman will be a free agent after the season, so the Falcons’ backfield is in a bit of a state of flux heading into 2019 and beyond.
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Beast Mode Battling Groin Problem
Marshawn Lynch faced his former team last weekend in London, but the Raiders were clobbered by the Seahawks, while Lynch rushed just 13 times for 45 yards, adding three catches for 14 yards. It was a frustrating day for all involved with the Raiders, just as it’s been a frustrating year altogether. To compound matters, Lynch seemed to injure his groin across the pond and will be visiting doctors and specialists during the Week 7 bye. Coach Jon Gruden admitted there’s concern Lynch’s injury could be a long-term thing. Lynch has been the most consistently good player through six weeks, while others like Derek Carr and Amari Cooper have been consistent in the other direction. If Lynch is to miss any amount of time, it would likely be Doug Martin taking over on early downs and Jalen Richard operating as the pass-game preference. With Oakland rarely holding a lead, Martin is a bottom-barrel add, but Richard at least has some deeper league PPR appeal.
Allen to Miss Multiple Weeks
Bills up-and-down first-rounder Josh Allen had to leave last week’s eventual loss to the Texans early after getting hit in his throwing arm and injuring his elbow. Dr. James Andrews viewed Allen’s arm and determined he has UCL damage, though Allen will not need Tommy John surgery. Allen, however, is expected to miss multiple weeks. Nathan Peterman has been a total disaster anytime he’s had to play in the regular season each of the past two years, and the Bills just signed veteran backup Derek Anderson last week. Anderson figures to be the favorite to start in Allen’s absence because coach Sean McDermott risks losing the locker room if he puts Peterman out there. Either way, the best play is to stream defenses against this offense. The Bills travel to face the Colts in Indianapolis this week before games against the Patriots, Bears, and Jets the following three weeks ahead of the bye. Indy is the top waiver add of the week among defenses.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Coach Jon Gruden gave Derek Carr his second public vote of confidence in six weeks. Things are obviously not going well for Carr, who has looked petrified in the pocket at times and remains a turnover machine. … 49ers signed pocket sloth QB Tom Savage to be their third-stringer. … Aaron Rodgers anticipates ditching his knee brace when the Packers come back from their bye in Week 8.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Free agent WRs Rishard Matthews and Corey Coleman worked out for the Jets on Tuesday. The Jets just lost Quincy Enunwa to a high-ankle sprain. … Ed Dickson (quad, NFI) will start practicing in Week 8 when the Seahawks come out of their bye. … Browns promoted WR Da’Mari Scott from their practice squad. … Rams signed WR Nick Williams with Cooper Kupp (knee) doubtful for Week 7. Williams is unlikely to have much of an offensive role. … Eagles OC Mike Groh hopes to get Mike Wallace (leg, I.R.) back this season. … Evan Engram (knee) is practicing again this week. … Giants owner expressed frustration with Odell Beckham’s “off the field” comments. … Coach Bill Belichick said Josh Gordon’s role is “expanding weekly” in the Patriots offense as he gets more comfortable. … Tavon Austin (groin) is not expected to play Week 7 against Washington. … Colts signed WR Dontrelle Inman. … Giants signed WR Bennie Fowler and placed Cody Latimer (hamstring) on IR. … Jaguars signed TE Blake Bell. He’s depth after Niles Paul sprained his MCL.