Of all the Falcons offensive players we’ve projected so far, Devonta Freeman may be the hardest. After two Pro-Bowl seasons in 2015 and 2016, Devonta was set back by injuries at the tail end of 2017 and taking him out for all but 2 games in 2018. He’s back and healthy, but will he stay that way? Let’s take a look.
Carries and yards
If we leave out 2014 and 2018, we can see that Devonta averaged somewhere between 14 and 17 carries per game between 2015 and 2017. He’s only played 16 games once in his career (2016), so if we figure he’ll be active for 14 games, that’ll put his carries at about 200.
His lifetime rushing average is 4.3 yards per carry. His best season was 4.8 in 2016 (if we ignore the 2 games in 2018 he played). With a revamped offensive line in 2019, it’s not unreasonable to think he might tick that average up closer to 4.5 this year. At 200 carries, that would net him right around 900 yards on the ground. Both of those numbers seem reasonable to me.
14 games, 200 carries, 900 yards at 4.5 yards per carry
Receptions, yards and touchdowns
Devonta figures to be a big component in the passing game again, though the emergence of Calvin Ridley could dip into his receiving numbers. Between 2015 and 2017, Devonta averaged between 3 to 8 receptions per game, with 2015 being the heavier year. Given the plethora of weapons on the offense, 3 per game seems reasonable. His lifetime yards per reception average is 8.1, which is not far off from his average between 2015 and 2017. Again, that seems like a safe bet.
Over his career, though, Devonta has been a touchdown machine. He had 14 in 2015, 13 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. Given that production in his healthiest years, and the beefed up offensive line, double digit touchdowns seems very doable for the primary back for the Falcons.
14 games, 42 receptions, 340 yards, 10 total touchdowns
Coming back from a disappointing 2018 will be important to Devonta, and I think the long rest will serve him well. Across 14 games, it looks like he’ll come close to eclipsing 1000 rushing yards again while easily passing 1200 total yards from scrimmage. So long as he can stay healthy, there’s no reason to think he can’t be a big contributor in 2019.
14 games, 200 carries for 900 yards (4.5 yards per carry)
42 receptions for 340 yards and 10 total touchdowns
How big of an impact do you think Devonta will have in 2019?