It’s OK to not have huge fantasy expectations for rookie running back Qadree Ollison, who was selected by the Falcons out of Pitt in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mike Clay, however, didn’t have many players from which to choose when projecting the fantasy value of Atlanta’s top offseason addition, so it’s Ollison by default.
Needless to say, Clay does not have high hopes for Ollison.
Atlanta didn’t give us much to work with, but fifth-round pick Ollison is an intriguing sleeper. Devonta Freeman is atop the depth chart but has missed action each of the past two seasons, including playing only 64 snaps in 2018. Tevin Coleman left in free agency, leaving Ollison to compete for No. 2 duties with Ito Smith, who struggled to 3.5 yards per carry (1.5 after contact) and a position-worst 5.6 yards per reception last season. Ollison is a huge back (6-foot-1, 228 pounds) who offers little as a receiver but could do damage in fantasy as an early-down and goal-line thumper. He’ll be a hot add if Freeman gets injured again.
We already know that, if Devonta Freeman is healthy, he’s the clear-cut No. 1 option in Atlanta’s backfield. I hear what Clay is saying about Ito Smith, but I thought he showed a lot of promise last year despite how things appear on paper. Ollison is a different type of back than Freeman or Smith, and may get some opportunities based on that alone. And the investment into the Falcons’ offensive line will hopefully help the running back corps get some traction on the ground this season.
Clay was forced to resort to projecting Ollison because Atlanta didn’t really add many players with fantasy impact. Nobody’s drafting Chris Lindstrom or Kaleb McGary in fantasy, unless you’re banking on Atlanta running a lot of trick plays targeting those guys in the end zone. (Spoiler alert: They won’t. Don’t do it.)
You can read the whole Insider article here (subscription required) and brush up on some potential steals for this coming season. And who knows? Maybe Ollison will have a breakout fantasy season. Hope springs eternal this time of year.