Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3: Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants and fantasy football owners that had the No. 2 overall pick in their drafts took a big hit in Week 2, as Saquon Barkley suffered a torn ACL. Dion Lewis stepped into a bigger role for the rest of that game, but free agent running back Devonta Freeman was in for a visit on Tuesday.

Barring something unforeseen (a positive COVID-19 test?), it looks like the Giants will sign Freeman.

Freeman was cut by the Atlanta Falcons in March. He was a top-10 fantasy back in 2015 and 2016. More recently he missed most of 2018, and averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last year.

Can Devonta Freeman find fantasy relevance with the Giants?

Freeman was the top-scoring fantasy running back in 2015, when he posted more than 1,600 total yards with 73 receptions and 11 rushing touchdowns (14 total touchdowns). He had over 1,000 yards on the ground again in 2016 (over 1,500 total yards), with 11 rushing scores again (13 total touchdown. He added 54 receptions, on his way to being RB6 in standard and full PPR.

In 2017 Freeman fell to 865 rushing yards and 36 catches in 14 games. But buoyed by seven rushing touchdowns and eight total touchdowns, he finished as RB13 in standard and full PPR scoring. 2018 was a lost season, as he only played two games.

In 2019, Freeman had just 656 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. But he also had 59 receptions for 410 yards and four touchdowns, and he finished as RB20 in full PPR (RB26 in standard scoring). This is where I add shocked-face emojis that Freeman was actually a usable fantasy running back last year.

The Giants will surely use Freeman as much as possible, but a backfield committee that includes Lewis and Wayne Gallman seems likely. However, with his receiving ability and general nose for the end zone, Freeman is in line for a significant piece of the most important touches when he’s up to speed.

Is Freeman A Must-Add This Week?

There’s still a speculative element to adding Freeman outside of deeper fantasy leagues. And he’s not startable as more than a cross your fingers dart throw in those same deep leagues in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers. But after that, with practice reps under his belt and ideally some game action in Week 3, Freeman should step into a more prominent role.

Freeman’s ownership rates have already started to rise in the wake of the running back injuries around the league in Week 2 (15.3 percent-ESPN, 15 percent-Yahoo!). Once his conditioning is where it needs to be (ideally as soon as Week 4), there’s flex or even low-end RB2 potential here, with some tilt toward PPR formats.