Rank's 11: Devonta Freeman feeling plenty of love


Let's talk about Devonta Freeman. Yes, that Devonta Freeman. I know some of you might be all, "Hey, didn't you promise to wear John Cena shoes on NFL Fantasy LIVE if he didn't get 200 touches last year?"

And yes, I did promise that. Did he? I'm not even sure about it. I never really checked after Week 17. I'm just going to assume that he made it and the question is moot. (Editor's note: Freeman juuust missed.) But if Freeman didn't reach that total (though I'm pretty sure he did), I will make good on that in another episode of NFL Fantasy LIVE. But again, I'm sure he made it. (Editor's note: Seriously dude, it wasn't close.)

However, that is all in the past. Let's live in the now. First things first. Steven Jackson is likely to be released. (Or you could read this months from now and be all, 'no kidding Sherlock, he's been gone for months.') Which is great fantasy football news. You want to know some even greater fantasy football news? Kyle Shanahan is the new offensive coordinator of the Falcons. That's right! He left Cleveland because well, it's Cleveland. He got out of that joint faster than a text message could be delivered. There was a rumor or story about how Shanahan created a power point on the reasons why he should be allowed to leave Cleveland and the Browns just let him walk away without compensation. Which is amazing.

But it's not what we're talking about here. Shanahan is the new offensive coordinator in Atlanta and he's ready to push Steven Jackson out the door. Which is great. But this is the money-quote which really caught my eye.

"Devonta (Freeman) was someone I loved coming out of college last year."

Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here, but it is early in the offseason and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I mean, he did say some nice things about Jacquizz Rodgers, too. But he was probably just being polite. I mean, it's like when it's Christmas and you really want to spend heavy on your favorite niece, but realize you've got to give some love to her little brother, too. So Shanny is just doing the right thing there. I like him for that.

But this could be a chance for a big-time role for Freeman. He wasn't given much of an opportunity for the Falcons last year, even though he showed some flashes of being the team's best back. But that staff is out the door and now Shanahan will have his chance to evaluate the talent on the team. If Freeman is given the opportunity, well, that would be amazing. Look at Shanahan's past success with running backs like Alfred Morris and you can't help but get excited.

Even the Browns duo of Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West had their moments. But neither guy had much help from the quarterback position. The Falcons lead runner will get protected by all of the other explosive offensive players in Atlanta.

So right now I'm going to keep Freeman as my top pick, with the chance to reconsider after free agency and the draft.

Baseball sleeper of the week

Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

Second base is always a tough position for me. I had Robby Cano in a keeper league and I ended up turning him for Jason Kipnis last year. Which didn't work out too well. But I blame that on the injuries. I wouldn't be surprised if Kipnis ends up with more HRs this year. But dang it, we're here to talk about Wong. He doesn't walk enough, which is kind of a bummer. He does play for St. Louis so he'll be good (science). He's a second-base guy who could get close to 20 homers and 20 steals, which I like very much.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. He surprisingly answers a lot of questions.