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Fantasy Football: Why Devonta Freeman Could Be Great In Keeper Leagues, Poor In Re-Draft

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A cautionary note about a young running back.

Kevin C. Cox

There's little question Devonta Freeman will be a vital piece of the puzzle for the Falcons' backfield, particularly after this year. What's less clear is where you should target him in your fantasy leagues.

While knowing whether Steven Jackson will be healthy for the season opener would make a huge difference here, it's my belief that the smart way to go with Freeman is to target him as a late-round flier in re-draft leagues, regardless of format, and make him a priority in keeper leagues.

Why? Largely based on the uncertainty that faces him in 2015. If S-Jax is healthy, he'll gobble up carries. Jacquizz Rodgers remains an extremely underrated blocker and pass catcher, and even Antone Smith will get the occasional carry. That leaves Freeman soaking up what's left, and unless Jackson is going to miss a significant amount of time and you know this before your league's draft, you can't take Freeman as a potential feature back. He's best targeted as an RB4 in those formats.

In keeper leagues, on the other hand, the story is vastly different. Jackson's likely to move in 2015, there's no other feature back candidate on the roster and Freeman is an impressive young player. The Falcons could draft someone and take a huge chunk out of his value, of course, but Freeman is a worthy gamble for 2015 and beyond given his upside and the reality of the team's running back corps. You may even squeeze some 2014 value out of him. In a rookie-only format, I'd take him just behind Carlos Hyde and Bishop Sankey.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET.