Is Devonta Freeman more essential to Falcons than Julio Jones?

Julio Jones is becoming a super star, he is performing like a beast, but is there a possibility that Devonta Freeman, the running back who was popular last year and has declined slightly this year, could be more essential for Dan Quinn and the Falcons franchise than Julio Jones?  Well, lets see…

First impression overview

Many people will say that Julio Jones is more important, because that guy is a beast, right?  Jones had over 1400 yards and would have been the receiving yards leader if he had not missed two games.  He had 83 receptions and averaged 17 yards per catch, one of the best in the league.  How could this guy not be the most essential?

Devonta Freeman was a beast last year, he was a breakout player and fantasy football star (I had him last year).  This year, whether it was a slump or Tevin Coleman or pass happy Ryan, Freeman rushed for a little over a 1,000 yards.  He ranked ninth in yards, and 6th in touchdowns, with 11.  Most would say that he was a little bit of a disappointment this season.

Who really is more essential?
You can make an easy argument that Jones is the most important player and best receiver that the Falcons have, and that he is the most essential, but that is too easy.  I will say that Devonta Freeman is more important to this team, for balance, and most importantly, scoring.

What is most important for a team to do in a game?  Score points, of course, and that is what Freeman did this season.  He scored 11 rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving touchdowns.  That is 13 touchdowns total, or 78 points for the Falcons this season.

Jones, on the other hand, had only 6 receiving touchdowns this season, or 36 points this season.  Yes, he did miss two games, but even 6 touchdowns in 14 games is less than 0.5 touchdowns per game, which means he would most likely had had around 7 touchdowns if Jones had played a full season.  Taylor Gabriel had 6 touchdowns, the same as Jones, and no one talks about Gabriel being the best.  No matter how you see it, Jones does not score very often.

You are probably thinking, “Touchdowns is not the only important thing for a player, what about yards?”.  Yards are important, without yards, the team could not even score.  So we do have to look at that also.  Jones had 1409 yards on the season, averaging 100.6 yards per game.  Freeman had 1079 rushing yards and 462 receiving yards, which totals 1541 yards this season, averaging  96.3 yards per game.

As you can see, those numbers are not far off, Freeman and Jones almost got exactly the same amount of yards this season, so both almost equally helped their team in that retrospect.  Again, Freeman has helped this team a lot, but he does not get the spotlight like Jones, even though he scored more touchdowns, and had about the same yards per game as Jones.

You also have to look at how much a running back versus a wide receiver benefit their team.  A wide receiver catch the ball, stretch the field,  and make big plays (for some teams, at least).  Running backs run the majority of rushing plays and they also can catch.  A running back touch the ball more times than a receiver, so they would, in theory, be more relied upon then a receiver.  Freeman carried the ball over 200 times, while Jones caught the ball 83 times.  So how would you say the time has to rely on to be consistent?  The running back, because he is involved in the game more than a receiver, this is true with Freeman and Jones.

What do you think?  Is Freeman more important than Jones?  I say so, because Freeman scores more points, had about the same amount of yards and is more involved in the game play than Jones.  This is not to say Jones is not important, because he is arguably one of the best receivers in the game, but Freeman contributes so much to the Falcons.  Here is one more little fact before I end this article.  When Jones was injured for weeks 14 and 15, the Falcons won both games and scored 42 points in week 14 and 41 points in week 15.  The Falcons can play elite with or without Jones, however, they would prefer that he was on the field when they play.

Well, there you have it, fellow Sports Reaction’ists.  Freeman is the more essential player on the Falcons team than the more commonly believed Jones.  Remember, be the best sports fan you can be.

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