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What to do with Royce Freeman in Week 3 fantasy football

After a 2018 season in which Lindsay left no room for Freeman, the course is reversing. It is now Freeman who looks like a real threat for Lindsay’s upside and Week 3 can mark the final blow.

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith tackles Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There is not a single backfield in the NFL functioning like Denver’s. The Broncos have featured Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman on 73 snaps each. Both of them have been part of 57 percent of the team’s offensive plays. Entering Week 3, Lindsay has had 37 opportunities (rush attempts plus targets), while Freeman has logged 29 himself. On the other hand, Freeman has 22.3 PPR points to Lindsay’s 21.2. Looking a little deeper, their profiles in terms of production have been quite different in the first two weeks of the season. Lindsay has two exactly equal 10.6 PPR games, while Freeman had a bad performance in Week 1 (7.1 PPR) followed but a good one in Week 2 (15.2). Right now, things can’t be more evenly split between them.

With such similar production levels, it is really hard to assess this backfield moving forward. It is a great situation in real life for Denver to deal with, but it’s also a fantasy GM’s nightmare. Freeman, though, is outperforming Lindsay so far in raw numbers. Freeman has 110 yards on 21 attempts (5.2 Y/A), while Lindsay has only 79 yards on 24 (3.3 Y/A). Perhaps more concerning is the fact that Lindsay is losing to Freeman also in the receiving game, where both of them have 53 yards but Freeman has racked them up in two fewer receptions.

Fantasy Impact: The Packers don’t look like the toughest of matchups. Be this a decision between a clear bell-cow and a backup running back, I’d go with the bell-cow against a defense that hasn’t performed great against RBs so far. Given the heavy timeshare between both Broncos’ running backs, though, it doesn’t make much sense to put Freeman or Lindsay in your lineup for Week 3. Things are trending Freeman’s way, though, so this could change in the future. I don’t see a massive turnaround in this backfield’s situation given what Lindsay gave the team in 2018, but Denver would be smart favoring one RB over the other on the long run if Freeman keeps out-performing Lindsay.

Recommendation: Sit