Start or Sit Tevin Coleman in Fantasy Football Week One?

Start or Sit Tevin Coleman

This week, we take a look at a running back who technically isn’t even the starter. This week, should we start or sit Tevin Coleman at the Eagles?

The preseason is over, and the 2018 fantasy football season is officially here. That means fantasy football owners get up on Sunday morning and proceed to rearrange their lineup six-or-seven times before begrudgingly hitting submit, and hoping for the best. Here at Football Absurdity would like to cut that process down to just impotently rejiggering your lineup four-or-five times. Each week, we will highlight multiple players at each position (ignoring Kicker and DST, as one should) and we ask the question: start or sit <player>? I wish I could take it easy on myself and say to start Todd Gurley and sit Mike Davis every week, but life isn’t easy (and neither are fantasy football start or sit questions), so we take a look at players on the periphery.

First, let’s get the soft factor out of the way. What Sigmund Bloom would call the narrative that belongs in fantasy football, and what Chris Harris would call a crutch argument: the opponent. The Falcons will be the NFL’s ritualistic sacrifice week one as they travel to Philly to take on the defending champion Eagles. The rowdiness of the Eagles fanbase is well documented, but I won’t repeat the tales of horse poop, batteries, and Santa here. The Linc is going to be insane on Thursday, and when you combine that with the Eagles already stout defense, it’s going to be a long, long day for the Falcons on offense (well technically, a short day, what with all the three-and-outs).

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at some stats to answer whether you should start or sit Tevin Coleman. Coleman and Devonta Freeman technically split the workload, but Coleman takes a serious backseat to Freeman when Freeman is available. In the games with Freeman available last season, Coleman averaged 11 touches per game. Without Freeman, Coleman’s touches nearly doubled, going up to 20 a contest. This split is a near-constant across their careers.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Coleman gets his standard issue two receptions and nine carries a game that he gets with Freeman on the field. What will he do with them? Well, let’s ignore that the Eagles bolstered their defense and go with last year’s numbers. That is 47 yards for Coleman… rounded up. The Falcons also only give Coleman about one-third of the ten-zone carries compared to over 55% for Freeman, with both getting a statistically insignificant amount of ten-zone targets. With no yards to speak of, and no touchdown opportunity, what’s the upside of starting Tevin Coleman?

The Falcons are likely to backburner Tevin Coleman in week one, and doing that against a stout defense like the Eagles means less opportunity for him to bust a long one. That, combined with their preference for Devonta Freeman in the red zone means that Coleman should stay firmly on your fantasy football benches this Thursday. The answer to the question, “should I start or sit Tevin Coleman” is: Sit.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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