Fantasy Takeaways, Week 1: Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman in committee

Andy Behrens

1. Confirmed: Atlanta’s backfield is stuck in committee.

Sorry, Devonta Freeman owners. But you can’t say the Falcons didn’t warn us this was coming. The team talked up Tevin Coleman in a big way during the off-season, and, as promised, he split touches evenly with Freeman in Atlanta’s season-opening loss to Tampa Bay. Let’s check Sunday’s stats:

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Coleman – 8 carries, 5 receptions, 117 scrimmage yards
Freeman – 11 carries, 4 receptions, 40 scrimmage yards

Coleman led Atlanta in receiving in the opener, thanks mostly to a slick 47-yard catch-and-run on which he flashed his 4.39-speed. Remember, Atlanta clearly intended to feed Coleman the ball in 2015, but injuries (and ball security) disrupted his first pro season. If you assumed that Freeman would own all the passing-down work this year, coming off a 73-catch campaign … well, no. Not happenin’. Coleman looked better than competent as a receiver — note the terrific adjustment on the catch linked above.

Bottom line, this situation is exactly the committee we feared. Adjust those Devonta expectations accordingly.

2. Also confirmed: New York’s running game is all Matt Forte, all the time.

It wasn’t even close. For all the preseason buzz about Bilal Powell seeing significant work for the Jets this season, Forte absolutely dominated the opening-week game script. He out-carried Powell 22 to 4, plus he led his team in receiving yards, snagging five balls for 59 yards on seven targets. The biggest problem facing Powell is that his strengths are also Forte’s strengths, and there’s really no area in which Bilal clearly superior. Going forward, you have to consider Powell more handcuff than committee member. If Forte remains healthy for the full season — which of course isn’t a given — he has an obvious path to a top-10 (8? 6?) positional finish.

OK, it appears No. 11 is a keeper. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
OK, it appears No. 11 is a keeper. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

3. OK, perhaps Carson Wentz can support a viable fantasy receiver or two.

Sure, it was just a single game against a not-so-intimidating Cleveland defense, but Wentz was certainly impressive in his regular season debut. He went 22-for-37, finishing with 278 yards, two scores and no picks, and the ball placement on his touchdown passes was sensational. Here’s the first; here’s the second. That’s what a top-of-draft QB is supposed to look like, people. It should go without saying that Wentz will have an ugly moment or three in his first pro season, while making a massive quality-of-competition jump. But it’s also clear he can play. He’s unflappable, too. Or so he says…

I won’t argue that Wentz himself is worth owning in anything other than a dynasty or superflex league, but, with one game in the books, we can feel a whole lot better about various other Eagles skill players. Jordan Matthews hauled in seven balls for 114 yards and one spike on Sunday, and he gets a date with Chicago next week. He’s back in the circle of fantasy trust.

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