Choose David Johnson over Devonta Freeman in fantasy drafts

Both running backs had major breakouts in 2015, but Mike Tagliere says Johnson is the safer pick for 2016.

| 5 months ago
Fantasy RB rankings

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Choose David Johnson over Devonta Freeman in fantasy drafts


We’ve gone through many of the toughest questions that fantasy owners have over the last month, including A.J. Green vs. DeAndre Hopkins, Drew Brees vs. Ben Roethlisberger, and the triumvirate of big-name Arizona receivers. Today, we’ll tackle a battle near the top of the rankings for running backs.

Last year’s breakout vs. last year’s rookie — should you take Devonta Freeman or David Johnson in the late first round of your fantasy draft?

Below, we’ll break them down, and you’ll see why the best bet is to draft Johnson and let someone else end up with Freeman.

Volume

The Cardinals are the superior team with the superior defense — one that allowed Johnson to average 18 carries a game once he took over as the starter in Week 13 in place of an injured Chris Johnson. The best part, though, is that David Johnson was able to rack up 5.6 targets per game during that time as well.

While the Falcons struggled with a subpar defense, Freeman was still able to average 17.6 carries and 6.5 targets per game. His per-game totals are a bit more impressive, because they are over the entire season, rather than just a five-game span.

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Mike Tagliere is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy. He's ranked as a top-six fantasy football expert twice over the last four years by FantasyPros.com.

  • Chad

    Another factor is pressure from backups. David Johnson is the clear Alpha dog among the Cardinal RBs from a talent standpoint no one can compete with him. Devonta Freeman has Tevin Coleman breathing down his back who was more efficient with his carries last year and had he not been injured there is no way Freeman sees such a large workload. From a projected volume standpoint I give it to Johnson as Coleman is going to leach into Freemans touches possibly much more than most are expecting.
    Devonta Freeman carries a ton of bust potential as a volume dependent inefficient rusher with a strong backup. Too much risk for me to touch in the first two rounds.