No top RB has ever been on sale like Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman is setting records for getting no love from fantasy football owners.

Which is surprising, since fantasy owners should be fawning over him. Last season he had 1,056 yards rushing, 11 rushing touchdowns, 578 yards receiving and 73 receptions on 97 targets. Plus, he added three receiving touchdowns. Add it all up and he led the NFL in fantasy scoring.

And he did that all in 15 games and just 13 starts.

But his ADP this year is just 17th overall in 12-team, non-PPR formats. It’s just 7th among RBs.

He’s just 18th in ADP for the National Fantasy Football Championship, which is a PPR and starts three WRs. He’s 7th among RBs there as well.

And it’s not just ADP. It’s expert leagues as well. He was the 6th most expensive RB in the recent Stopa11K auction.

Yes, he had a decline in the second half (over his last eight starts he was limited to 3.25 YPC, and he had a modest four overall TDs) and has a viable backup in Tevin Coleman. But when do you see a RB who led the league in fantasy points the year before fall out of the first round of ADP the next year?

It only happened once before and that was last season. Demarco Murray finished first in fantasy points in 2014, but fell to 14th in ADP the next preseason. Of course he had been traded from the Cowboys to the Eagles in the offseason, so his circumstances had changed significantly.

Previously since 1998, the lowest the leading fantasy point scoring RB finished in the following year’s ADP was 7th overall. Here’s the list:

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Year RB Overall Rank ADP next preseason Rank next season
2015 Devonta Freeman 2 17 ?
2014 Demarco Murray 1 14 55
2013 Jamaal Charles 1 2 13
2012 Adrian Peterson 1 1 18
2011 Ray Rice 3 3 6
2010 Arian Foster 1 1 11
2009 Chris Johnson 1 1 5
2008 DeAngelo Williams 1 7 46
2007 LaDainian Tomlinson 3 1 13
2006 LaDainian Tomlinson 1 1 3
2005 Shaun Alexander 1 3 95
2004 Shaun Alexander 1 2 1
2003 Priest Holmes 1 1 29
2002 Priest Holmes 1 5 1
2001 Marshall Faulk 1 1 26
2000 Marshall Faulk 1 1 1
1999 Marshall Faulk 1 2 1
1998 Terrell Davis 1 1 237

So by any measure Devonta Freeman is being discounted like a top back has never been before. He hasn’t changed teams. And while he has a viable backup, many on the list above had millage (300+ carry seasons), viable backups and changes on offense. It’s entirely possible that the market is off on Freeman’s value.

(h/t to Dalton Del Don of Yahoo! Sports for the idea of this study as after he bought Freeman in the Stopa11K auction he asked “how often do you see last year’s top fantasy scoring RB go so cheap?”)