2015 Undervalued & Underrated Running Backs
Last week, I highlighted two young receivers whose athletic prowess had fantasy owners swooning at various points throughout the 2014 season. This week, I'd like to take a look at the running back position. While neither of these players existed as an every-week start, their potential and circumstances heading into 2015 could make them hot FF prospects in the coming months.
Purported to be the best pass protector in the 2014 draft class of RBs, Freeman didn't explode onto the fantasy scene as many owners had hoped. One quarter of the four-headed hydra that was Atlanta's backfield, the rookie's production was significantly hampered by a lack of usage and opportunity. At 5-foot-8 and 206 pounds, the 22-year-old Florida State product may not be the bulkiest of backs, but his vision and ability to successfully squeeze his compact frame through holes gives him a unique edge. This seam-busting skill was on full display in the Falcons' Week 16 victory at New Orleans. Subbing in for a hobbled Steven Jackson, Freeman shimmied and sped past defenders for a 31-yard score. Despite only touching the ball eight times, the fourth-round pick showed off his notable capabilities in that one trip to the end zone. Heading into 2015, Freeman could be in a line for a decent-sized promotion. Currently, No. 2 RB Jacquizz Rodgers is set to become a free agent. If he isn't retained by the Falcons, Devonta could certainly climb up the depth chart. Additionally, it's expected that Atlanta will hire Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as its head coach once Super Bowl XLIX is in the history books. Of course, much depends on whom Quinn selects as his offensive coordinator, but presumably the 44-year-old coach will help beef up the Falcons' rushing attack. There are numerous question marks surrounding Freeman's situation next season, but if the stars even partially align in the former Seminole's favor, his stock could appreciate handsomely.
An undrafted free agent who debuted for New Orleans in 2013, Robinson is a tackle-breaking beast of a back. Third on the depth chart, Robinson stepped up admirably in Weeks 3-5 while the Saints' No. 1 RB, Mark Ingram, was nursing a broken hand. The West Texas A&M product produced double-digit fantasy points in two of those three games and averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry. Heading into Week 7, even with Ingram now healed, Robinson was expected to remain a significant part of the Saints' ground game. Unfortunately, the second-year RB broke his arm and was ruled out for the following six contests. Closing out the season on a high note, Robinson managed to churn out 37 all-purpose yards and a rushing score on just 16 snaps in New Orleans' Week 17 win at Tampa Bay. Receiving high praise from head coach Sean Payton, Robinson has the skills and size to dominate on third downs. With Ingram set to become a free agent, and given the Saints' oppressive cap issues, Robinson could very well be the team's workhorse in 2015. He's a must-own player in dynasty and a breakout candidate in redrafts.
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