Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman Fantasy Outlook After Melvin Gordon's Illness

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2020

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) walks on the field while warming up before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Justin Edmonds)
Justin Edmonds/Associated Press

Phillip Lindsay will once again be the focal point of the Denver Broncos rushing attack after Melvin Gordon didn't travel with the team for its Week 6 game against the New England Patriots because of an illness, according to Mike Klis of 9News.

Denver's decision to sign Gordon was somewhat surprising since Lindsay eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons. The former Colorado star finished with 1,011 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging a respectable 4.5 yards per carry in 2019.

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman split in 16 games in 2019: Lindsay: 488 snaps, 224 carries, 193 routes, 49 targets Freeman: 471 snaps, 132 carries, 250 routes, 50 targets

Because of his performance last year, Lindsay will already be rostered in the vast majority of standard fantasy leagues. The advice for those who have the 2018 Pro Bowler is relatively straightforward: He now goes from a flex option to a clear RB2/RB1 depending on who else you have at the position. However, Lindsay will be making his first appearance since Week 1, when he suffered a toe injury, and could be somewhat limited in his workload.

The fantasy outlook isn't so bright for Royce Freeman, a 2018 third-round pick who saw Lindsay leapfrog him in the depth chart as a rookie.

Kev Mahserejian @RotoSurgeon

While Phillip Lindsay will take on the lead role in Denver, don’t forget about Royce Freeman If Lindsay’s turf toe acts up, Freeman’s in-line for a gigantic touch-share. Also, the Broncos may see this as a prime opportunity to showcase Freeman before the trade deadline

Freeman carried some hype coming out of Oregon, to the point some predicted him to make an immediate impact in Denver. That hasn't happened yet, and there's little reason to think Gordon's injury will change things.

Freeman is only worth a flier for RB-starved teams or fantasy managers in deeper leagues.