There has been a dramatic change in production for Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman has been the beneficiary of that change. After a steller 2016 campaign, many analysts discussed the negative regression that would be coming Tevin Coleman’s way in 2017. That hasn’t happened. In fact, after a quarter of the season, Coleman’s production is on pace for his best year yet. The reason; he is being utilized more in the receiving game, and maintaining pace in the rushing game from last year.
Compare 2017 projections to 2016 and 2015 production:
Carries Rushing Yards Rushing TD Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD
2015 265 1056 11 97 73 578 3
2016 227 1079 11 65 54 462 2
2017* 280 1140 20 36 36 280 0
2015 87 392 0 9 2 14 0
2016 118 520 8 40 31 421 3
2017* 116 732 0 76 52 612 4
Devonta Freeman, has had an increased role in rushing. A pace that would set a career high in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and an incredible 20 rushing touchdowns. However, the down side, he is on pace for the fewest receptions and receiving yards in the last 3 years, or since he became a starter.
Tevin Coleman, on the other hand, is on pace for just about the same rushing attempts, increased rushing yards, and has taken over the role of receptions in the passing game. For the first time in the last three years, Coleman is on pace to have more receptions and receiving yards compared to Freeman.
It will be interesting to see how the season plays out, but there has been a dramatic shift in production. Fantasy owners, are encouraged by the increased work load as a rusher, but the drop off in receiving is concerning. Coleman has long been a strong flex play, but if his increased role in the passing game continues, fantasy owners can continue to trust him as a flex or RB2 option.