It wasn’t all that long ago that the fantasy football Twitter battlefield lines were drawn. On one side were super-geniuses, like me, who thought that Devonta Freeman, not Tevin Coleman, was the best back to own in Atlanta. Then there were the subhuman hordes who thought that Tevin Coleman, fumbler extraordinaire, was better. Idiots. The answer, it turns out, was both. Freeman is the better every down banger, but Coleman is the ideal complementary back. Freeman is a sledgehammer, Coleman is a cross-country skier, gliding across the field. Both have fantasy football relevance, though Freeman has ascended to the heights of fantasy stardom. Coleman is extremely useful in the right matchups, in his own right. Is he a play this weekend as the Falcons and Patriots try for a redo of Super Bowl LI?
First, let’s look at Coleman’s production this year. The Falcons have five games so far, and Coleman has double-digit opportunities (targets + rushes) in all but week two against Green Bay. He’s produced startable standard scoring weeks, inside the top-thirty, every week except for his week one 5.8 fantasy points. He’s been an unexciting glue guy for fantasy football rosters. He’s provided a reliable nine or ten fantasy points every week since week one, but the matchup will give him an opportunity for so much more.
The Patriots have been a trash fire on defense against opposing running backs, as they allow the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position so far this year. The extra kicker is the work they allow through the air. They’ve already allowed three receiving touchdowns to running backs, and allow the third-most yards per reception to running backs this year. The 10.88 yards per catch that running backs rip off literally means that on average, a back is getting a first down if they catch a pass against the Patriots. Four different backs have at least fifty receiving yards this year against them. Let’s not forget that Kareem Hunt had a huge day in the air week one against them (98 yards, two touchdowns) on top of his massive rushing day week one.
Tevin Coleman has the upside this week to be a back-end RB1, if everything breaks right. His floor is an RB2 this week as the Falcons seek to avenge their Super Bowl loss. Start him in any format that rewards on a per-catch basis. In standard scoring, he’s a good RB2 play and a great flex play.