FBG says: Bad matchup. Devonta Freeman should return for Week 12, but he may not offer a better outlook on the ground than what was seen Sunday in his place. He's topped 40 yards only twice over 9 games, averaging just 3.5 per rush along the way. (In fact, those 2 are Freeman's only games above 4.0.) The 3-7 Falcons are often victims of game flow, which both robs Freeman of opportunity and prevents him from building much rhythm. If Freeman can't suit up, Brian Hill will again head a rotation with Qadree Ollison and Kenjon Barner, none of whom project well. Hill is miscast as a lead back - he produced just 30 yards on 15 rushes - and neither of the backups cut into his workload. The Falcons front line has bounced back nicely over the second half of the season, but the talent deficiency in the backfield would be tough to overcome. A date with the Buccaneers' shutdown run defense isn't inspiring.
The Buccaneers have dominated on the ground for much of the year, even with a slight downturn of late. Last Sunday, they allowed a runner (Alvin Kamara) to top 75 yards for the third time in 4 weeks - it hadn't happened once over the first six. That said, it's worth noting that they've remained a tight, stonewalling group for the most part. Of the 255 yards given up to Kamara, Chris Carson, and Derrick Henry, 93 of them (36%) came on just 2 runs. Of course, it wouldn't be prudent to simply cherrypick a few runs out, and the Buccaneers have indeed had a lapse here and there. Rookie linebacker Devin White, in particular, has been shaky at best - his missed assignments opened up both those long gains. But overall, this is still a stout unit and a tough fantasy matchup. They've shut down the likes of Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, and Christian McCaffrey (twice). Second-year nose tackle Vita Vea has dominated at an All-Pro level, both tying up blockers up front and making blow-up plays of his own. He's instrumental in clearing room for White and the other linebackers to pursue and strike. The Atlanta ground game is floundering at the moment, and the schedule does them no favors this weekend.