Entering the fantasy football draft season, the situation surrounding the Atlanta backfield was getting increasingly murky. After all, in 2015, before Devonta Freeman’s ridiculous breakout, Tevin Coleman was the starter. He was the quicker, shiftier back, and for some, that meant he was the better back. Either way, he was going dozens of picks behind Freeman, and nobody would take him before Freeman, so we all know that was just jibber-jabber. The big issue with Coleman was his fumbling last year, fumbling it just about one out of every 30 carries. If he had a full back load, that’s more than a fumble every other game.
This season, however, he mostly fixed the fumbles (or at least he doesn’t have one yet). He still hasn’t matched his carry total from last season, but this year he has been converted to the pass-catching back, with he and Freeman rotating red zone touches this year. Coleman missed weeks eight through eleven, and his two games back have been a mixed bag. The first one, eight carries for nine yards, can be chalked up to rust and a great Cardinals defense. Last week, when he went for 49 yards on twelve carries, which is more along the lines of what we are used to with Coleman.
However, this week, Coleman gets a Los Angeles defense that is a neutrally-good matchup on paper (thirteenth). However, their defense has gotten chewed up recently, especially by split backfields. In their last four games, the Rams have allowed five running backs double-digit fantasy points. They have faced split backfields three times in this span (Powell-Forte and Hightower-Ingram). In each of these cases, the Rams have allowed both of these backs to get double-digit fantasy points. While it took a Willie Snead trick play for Hightower’s big fantasy day, but the point remains that split backfields have given the Rams fits. It makes sense, they’re a mess from top to bottom, and it stands to reason that planning for two running backs might just be too much for a Jeff Fisher-led team to handle.
Tevin Coleman hasn’t shown that he can be a reliable option this week, but he should be able to return to his pre-injury usage, where you trusted him as a boom-bust flex play or a desperation RB3. If you need a home run hitter then go for Coleman in your lineup. He has a decently high upside but also a very low floor. He makes a good flex play this week if you need some punch in your lineup, but his downside is too drastic to start him as your second running back this week.