If you drafted Devonta Freeman last year in a PPR (points per reception) fantasy football league, odds are you had a stellar running back corps. And if you selected the Falcons' Pro Bowler when he usually went off the board—around 100-120th overall—you not only got one of the best options available.
You got one of the best values in fantasy football history.
According to a study conducted by numberFire.com's JJ Zachariason, Freeman's 2015 campaign provided the most value of any fantasy football player in the last five years. Zachariason analyzed data from 2011-15 and found that, based on Freeman's average draft position, he eclipsed his forecasted production more than anyone else in the NFL during that timeframe.
"Fantasy owners who drafted Freeman more than likely found success last year, not just because he scored so many points, but because the cost in acquiring him was pretty minimal—he far exceeded expectations," wrote Zachariason.
"Freeman scored 316.9 PPR points last year, which was by far the most from any running back in fantasy football. But he was selected, on average, at pick 113.43. A running back over the last five years selected at that slot has scored, according to our trendline, 99.97 PPR points. In other words, Freeman outproduced his expected PPR point value by 216.93 points."
In terms of difference between expected and actual points, Freeman's plus-216.93 beat out Knowshon Moreno in 2013 (212.31), Le'Veon Bell in 2014 (205.56), Darren Sproles in 2011 (183.52) and Adrian Peterson in 2012 (173.68).
Freeman's astronomical rise up the fantasy football rankings can be largely attributed to his nose for the endzone and talents as a receiver. The 5-foot-8, 206-pounder finished last season with 14 touchdowns—11 on the ground, three through the air—and 578 receiving yards on 73 receptions.
Among running backs, only Danny Woodhead and Theo Riddick tallied more receiving yards and catches than Freeman in 2015; his 14 scores were tied for the most in the NFL.