Dan Quinn on Freeman: “It has been determined that he will need a procedure that will result in us placing him on injured reserve. We are hopeful he will be able to return this season, but we will have a better feel for that in the coming weeks.”
— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) October 16, 2018
Going on the IR means that Freeman will be sidelined for at least 8 weeks, so he won’t be eligible to return before Week 14. Considering that he won’t be trustworthy initially, especially if the Falcons running game proves capable in his absence and the risk that his number of touches will be a mystery, those in yearly formats can safely move on.
As for how the Falcons will pick up the pieces, it will obviously be some combination of Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith. Thus far Coleman has gotten the lion’s share of the carries, though he’s failed to impress:
Both players have played a role in the passing game, with Coleman catching 13 passes for 2 TD and Smith reeling in 10 catches.
This is a continued downward trend for Coleman, who averaged just 4.0 YPC over 156 carries last year. Of course it’s easy to argue that he still has significantly more upside than Smith, who NFL.com described prior to the draft by saying:
Undersized workhorse with 940 career touches and 49 career touchdowns. For all of his production on the ground, Smith lacks the explosive qualities of a slasher. Smith’s lack of size and burst could hinder his chances as a running back, but his talents as a pass-catcher could keep him alive in a camp.
In PPR formats Smith is going to be an intriguing option, but the 5’9” running back simply isn’t going to be a workhorse. His 11 carries in Week 6 was a season high, though there’s a good chance he settles into the 6-9 carry per week range while adding some receptions. There’s value, but not quite enough. Consider Coleman the man, and despite his struggles he’s proven that he can do the job before, with Smith operating as a handcuff/upside stash. Put him in the same mold as an Austin Eckeler, putting him more on the FLEX map than anything.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: