Devonta Freeman still remains a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense, and for fantasy owners.
The 2020 offseason, like most others, has consisted of a lot of moving parts. Big trades and acquisitions have occurred over the last several months to change the landscape of the NFL heading into September.
While a lot of the action has already transpired back in March and April, there are still a few key moves that can have a major impact on teams moving forward. When the free agency frenzy commenced in mid-March, the Atlanta Falcons decided to part ways with running back Devonta Freeman.
It did not come as much of a surprise as Freeman has not performed well since the 2017 season. He’s dealt with a slew of injuries for the last two seasons and when healthy, he has not been as explosive as he was from a few years ago.
In 2019 with the Falcons for example, Freeman played 14 games while compiling just 656 yards and two touchdowns on 184 attempts. He also caught 59 passes for an additional 410 yards and four scores. Overall, it has been a difficult two years and the writing was on the wall that Freeman would not be returning to Atlanta in 2020.
Since his release from the Falcons in mid-March, Freeman has been unable to find a new place to call home. His drop off in production the last couple of years has hurt his stock which has made it quite difficult for him to join another roster at the moment.
The good news is over the past several weeks, he has drawn interest from some teams who require a veteran running back presence. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one team rumored by the media to be interested in signing Freeman.
When asked about the former Falcons runner, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians stated to reporters that Freeman’s asking price is a bit high. While on the surface this may seem like there’s no chance Tampa Bay will sign Freeman, the fact that they are even entertaining the idea is a good sign the tide will turn.
The Buccaneers currently have one of the most inexperienced backfields in the NFL as it consists of Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Dare Ogunbowale. All three of these backs are very young and they could use a veteran such as Freeman to help lead the way in 2020.
Freeman had recently posted on Twitter, “A number of teams are interested, but we can’t negotiate through the media. The Buccaneers can reach out to me directly“.
It sounds as though the two sides are mutually interested in a union, but the price tag remains to be the challenge to get over. Freeman and Tampa Bay must come up with a compromise for the two sides to work together this season.
What would Devonta Freeman’s fantasy value be with the Buccaneers?
Despite Freeman’s dip in production for the last couple of years, I believe he is still a very talented back with plenty left in the tank. His relationship with the Falcons had just gone stale, and a change of scenery may be just the right thing to help him revive his professional career.
Tampa Bay is loaded with offensive weapons, but their run game is a bit weak. Freeman will help strengthen this area of need. Between 2015-2017, he had averaged 4.0 or more yards per carry in each of those three seasons. In fantasy, he was also within the top-15 every year during that span as he averaged no less than 13.0 points per contest.
Tampa Bay is similar to Atlanta where they are a high-powered offense with many passing weapons. Freeman benefited in Atlanta’s system because of his pass-catching ability and to be used as a dual-threat. The Buccaneers would most likely have Freeman involved in many passing schemes coming out of the backfield to make their attack even more unpredictable to opposing defenses.
Should the Bucs strike a deal with Freeman, this could be a very good situation for both parties. From Tampa’s perspective, they will finally solidify their offense with a sturdy running attack to complement their air raid. From Freeman’s perspective, this is a great system for him to resurrect his career in the NFL.
Freeman could very well be a difference-maker for many fantasy rosters in 2020 if he manages to sign with a versatile offense such as Tampa Bay’s.
It remains to be seen if such a union will occur but if it does, it certainly will be exciting to experience. If the prospect of Freeman going to the Buccaneers falls through, there are other teams who will appreciate his talents.
Teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Los Angeles Rams could potentially make a move for him. These are all teams who need an anchor to their run game schemes and Freeman can provide that stability if given the chance.
Yet, the Buccaneers is the most favorable destination for Freeman to go to especially if we are just focusing on stats. They have a great offensive line that will make it helpful for him to find openings on the ground each game. Furthermore, Tampa Bay will also most likely know how to tap into his talents as a pass-catcher which will increase his productivity level as well.
Lastly, they have so many weapons that it will make it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to center their attention on him.
The seventh-year back out of Florida State should not be slept on if he can find a new team, especially if it’s with the Buccaneers for 2020. Keep his name on your fantasy radar should he be on a roster by the time your league has its draft this year.