In this edition of the Situation Series, we will look into the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons finished the season 7-9 and will look to find their way back into the playoffs after missing out last season. Here are a couple of areas worth keeping an eye on in Atlanta.
CAN DEVONTA FREEMAN RETURN TO FORM?
Last season, Freeman appeared in only 2 games for the Falcons. In years prior, he and Tevin Coleman had become a true 1-2 punch in Atlanta’s backfield. Running back duties became a mixture of work between Coleman and rookie Ito Smith in Freeman’s absence. Now with Coleman in San Francisco, Freeman will look to reclaim his role in the offense. Freeman has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his career which is concerning. If healthy, however, he could be a source of volume in season long and best ball drafts. According to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, Freeman’s ADP has been on a steady incline for about a month now. He is currently going in the early part of the third round. If you got in the best ball action early this season, you were probably able to snag Freeman a lot cheaper. With that said, he still might be worth the price as Freeman has the potential to finish as a top 12 running back this season given his role in the offense. I am also a little more willing to discard the injury history for Freeman given that he is still only 27 years old. I would not be surprised if we saw 1-2 more solid seasons out of Freeman before he reaches that 30-year-old cliff for running backs. (PS: Don’t forget to check out our rankings to see where Kevin and Cody currently have Freeman ranked!)
If you are a bit more risk averse and are looking to fade Freeman at his price, Ito Smith is a cheap backup plan. He is currently going near the end of the 10th round. It is worth noting that Koetter was the Falcons OC when they originally drafted Devonta Freeman. There is the chance he gives him a longer leash if he struggles early. If that were to happen or Freeman can’t stay healthy, Koetter will have no choice but to involve Smith.
DIRK KOETTER TAKES OVER AS OC
Dirk Koetter was relieved of HC duties with Tampa Bay following a 5-11 record. He will now return as the OC for the Atlanta Falcons, who decided to cut ties with Steve Sarkisian. The Koetter hire is a definite red flag in my book. Those who are plugged into the NFL/fantasy football know Tampa Bay came out of the gates firing last season. Fitzmagic had the team rolling, but it wasn’t Koetter who was the mastermind, it was OC Todd Monken. Monken made a name for himself last season with his pass-happy play calling and aggressive approach. Monken was hired by Cleveland to be their OC under head coach Freddie Kitchens. There were also times during the season where Koetter reclaimed play-calling duties from Monken out of fear for his job. It is an understatement to say the offense took a nosedive with him at the helm, most notably with a 16-3 loss to a weak Washington team. I think Falcons fans and players will soon realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side as the Koetter era begins.