Royce Freeman

Houston Texans
Running Back #37
Houston Texans
Running Back #37
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Royce Freeman News

Stymied in finale

Freeman rushed seven times for 15 yards and brought in one of two targets for one yard in the Broncos' 32-31 loss to the Texans on Sunday.

Analysis: Freeman was unable to take advantage of what had been an inconsistent Colts run defense, gaining nearly half his meager rushing yardage total on a seven-yard scamper and netting just eight yards on his other six totes. The journeyman back has appeared in 11 games with the Texans over the last two seasons and is on an expiring contract, and it remains to be seen if he'll have a chance to claim a complementary role behind the promising Dameon Pierce (IR-ankle) in training camp next summer.

Jan 8, 2023 3:36 PM EST


Leads backs in snaps

Freeman had seven carries for 19 yards and caught three of five targets for 20 yards in Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Jaguars in Week 17.

Analysis: Freeman (30 snaps) and Dare Ogunbowale (26 snaps) once again were the top backs on offense, but neither had a productive day. Freeman's 39 combined yards paced the backs. Expect a similar backfield mix, with a bit of Rex Burkhead, in next week's season finale against the Colts.

Jan 2, 2023 7:29 AM EST



Leading rusher again

Freeman rushed the ball 16 times for 32 yards in Saturday's 19-14 win over the Titans. He added one reception for six yards.

Analysis: Freeman accounted for 16 of the Texans' 24 carries by a running back in a tough matchup against the Titans. He was stymied throughout the game, as he averaged just two yards per carry and his longest gain of the day on the ground went for only five yards. Despite the poor performance, Freeman appears to have locked in an opportunity, as he now has 27 carries combined across the team's last two games heading into a Week 17 matchup against Jacksonville.

Dec 24, 2022 3:50 PM EST


Leads backfield in OT loss

Freeman rushed 11 times for 51 yards and brought in his only target for five yards in the Texans' 30-24 overtime loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.

Analysis: Just promoted from the practice squad Saturday, Freeman ended up leading the Texans backfield across the board during Houston's first game without Dameon Pierce (IR-ankle). Dare Ogunbowale was the only other back on the team to log a carry since Rex Burkhead was limited only to receiving work, giving Freeman some fantasy appeal heading into a Week 16 divisional road matchup against the Titans on Saturday afternoon.

Dec 18, 2022 2:34 PM EST


Signed off practice squad

Freeman was signed to the active roster Saturday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Freeman will look to make his season debut this week against the Chiefs after spending the entirety of the season on the practice squad. The 26-year-old running back could have an ample opportunity to get some playing time now that Dameon Pierce (ankle) has been placed on injured reserve as he figures to be the third option behind Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale.

Dec 17, 2022 2:12 PM EST



Signs to practice squad

Freeman was signed to the Texans practice squad Monday.

Analysis: Freeman was let go for a second time this season by the Texans on Friday. Now the 26-year-old has been brought back again. Freeman will try and work his way up to the active roster and not get let go for the third time.

Sep 12, 2022 12:34 PM EST


Let go by Texans

The Texans have released Freeman.

Analysis: With Freeman no longer in the mix, heading into Sunday's season opener against the Colts, Dameon Pierce, Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale are in line to handle the Texans' Week 1 backfield duties.

Sep 9, 2022 1:37 PM EST


Brought back by Texans

Houston re-signed Freeman on Thursday.

Analysis: Freeman made the Texans' initial 53-man roster, was released Wednesday, and now rejoins the team one day later. Houston also brought Marlon Mack back as a member of the practice squad, giving the team some experienced depth to rely on in the backfield. Dameon Pierce seems like the favorite to lead the Texans' backfield Week 1 versus Indianapolis, which would leave Freeman to mix in with Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale for depth work.

Sep 1, 2022 11:23 AM EST


Released by Houston

The Texans released Freeman on Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com reports.

Analysis: Freeman initially made the 53-man roster, but he's been released just one day later. Marlon Mack was signed to Houston's practice squad after being let go ahead of Tuesday's deadline, so he'll likely operate as an emergency option behind Dameon Pierce, Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale. Freeman rushed for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns during his first two seasons in Denver but hasn't garnered a sizable role since.

Aug 31, 2022 2:26 PM EST


Team-high carries Saturday

Freeman had 12 carries for 25 yards in Saturday's 17-13 preseason win over New Orleans.

Analysis: The bulk of Freeman's work came in the second half, a signal that he's a depth back and on the bubble. The top three backs are Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead (who did not play) and Dameon Pierce. The only thing to change that would be Pierce, whose five carries for a team-high 49 yards puts him on the radar for a larger role. If the Texans keep four running backs, it will come down to Freeman or Dare Ogunbowale, but offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton may prefer to have a fullback, like Andy Janovich, on hand.

Aug 14, 2022 6:07 AM EST


Stays with Houston

Freeman is re-signing with the Texans on a one-year, $1.2 million contract, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com reports.

Analysis: The deal reportedly includes $895,000 fully guaranteed, suggesting Freeman is expected to have a spot on the 53-man roster. That's certainly the case given the current state of Houston's backfield depth chart, though the team has plenty of time to add more talent before Week 1. In all likelihood, Freeman will be a special teams player and backup.

Mar 17, 2022 6:52 AM EST


Quiet finale

Freeman played one snap on offense and 15 on special teams in Week 18's 28-25 loss to the Titans.

Analysis: Freeman dropped to the third back with the return of David Johnson from the reserve/COVID-19 reserve list. Prior to Week 18 and without an available Johnson, he had served as the second back but never threatened Rex Burkhead for the top role. Houston's rushing offense finished last in the league, so it's expected there will be some churn in 2022. Freeman is not under contract heading into the free agency period, and if the team had plans for him, they would have used him more over the final six weeks.

Jan 13, 2022 6:57 PM EST


Backs up Burkhead

Freeman had six carries for 25 yards and did not catch his lone target in Sunday's 23-7 loss to San Francisco.

Analysis: With David Johnson on the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing last week's game due to a quadriceps injury, Freeman served as Houston's top backup to starter Rex Burkhead. He's had 42 touches over the last five games following a backfield shakeup. If the Texans had any thoughts of him being a lead back, they would have elevated him above Burkhead already.

Jan 3, 2022 6:47 AM EST


Serves as backup in win

Freeman had 12 carries for 34 yards in Sunday's 41-29 win over the Chargers.

Analysis: Freeman returned to a significant role in Houston's backfield with David Johnson inactive due to a quadriceps injury. Freeman's played significantly in two of the last three weeks, but those opportunities are the result of injuries and COVID-19 issues for other backs. The Texans may want to give the 25-year-old running back some additional chances over the final two weeks of the season, with the intent of evaluating him for a potential role in 2022.

Dec 27, 2021 8:25 AM EST


Reduced role in win

Freeman had three carries for eight yards in Sunday's 30-16 win over the Jaguars.

Analysis: Freeman was the last back standing in Week 14's loss to the Seahawks, making him an interesting speculative play Week 15. However, his projected role took a hit when both Rex Burkhead and David Johnson were available and capped Freeman's playing time at nine snaps. He did have Houston's lone carry in the red zone, but he should serve as the third back, at best, next weekend at home against the Chargers. If Scottie Phillips (ankle) can get healthy, Freeman would drop another peg on the depth chart.

Dec 20, 2021 3:47 AM EST


Should have role this Sunday

Freeman is expected to complement David Johnson in the Houston backfield with Rex Burkhead (hip) ruled out for Sunday's game against the Jaguars, Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 AM reports.

Analysis: It's been an unproductive backfield all year regardless of who takes the snaps, though there is a little extra potential the next couple weeks with a favorable schedule and thinned-out depth chart. Freeman was actually the team's only healthy tailback at one point in Sunday's 33-13 loss to the Seahawks, ultimately finishing with 11 carries for 15 yards and a 6-51-8 receiving line on eight targets (with 54 percent snap share). Texans coach David Culley said Johnson will be the lead back this Sunday in Jacksonville, but Freeman also figures to get a bunch of touches.

Dec 15, 2021 10:34 AM EST


Takes lead role after Burkhead hurt

Freeman rushed 11 times for 15 yards and caught six of eight targets for 51 yards in Sunday's 33-13 loss to the Seahawks.

Analysis: Freeman took over as the lead back after Rex Burkhead (groin) left the game, as David Johnson didn't dress because he's in COVID-19 protocols. He couldn't find any running room but was effective as a pass-catcher. If neither Burkhead nor Johnson are cleared to return in Week 15, Freeman would be an appealing option in a favorable matchup against Jacksonville.

Dec 12, 2021 1:52 PM EST


Serving as No. 2 back again

Freeman is slated to serve as the top backup to starting running back Rex Burkhead in Sunday's game against the Seahawks, Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: When David Johnson was inactive last week due to an illness and thigh injury, Burkhead stepped into the starting role in the Texans' 31-0 loss to the Colts, while Freeman served as his top understudy. Freeman was expected to fall to third on the depth chart Sunday after Johnson returned to practice this week and wasn't given a designation, but those plans changed on short notice after Johnson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list less than two hours before kickoff. Additionally, practice-squad back Jaylen Samuels, who was elevated to the roster ahead of last week's game, was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving Freeman as the sole depth option behind Burkhead. Expect Burkhead to see the bulk of the work out of the backfield, though Freeman could have an expanded role from the 44-percent snap share and four touches (three carries, one reception) he picked up Week 13.

Dec 12, 2021 9:20 AM EST


Steps up as second back

Freeman had three carries for 10 yards and caught his lone target for 11 yards in Sunday's 31-0 loss to the Colts.

Analysis: Freeman, who moved up the depth chart after the Texans made David Johnson (illness) inactive for the game, played 22 snaps in his most significant contribution since being claimed off waivers in early November. He served as the No. 2 back behind Rex Burkhead. It was his second game as part of the active roster and first time getting work on offense. The Texans may give Freeman and Jaylen Samuels more work in the coming weeks as the organization focuses on its 2022 roster.

Dec 6, 2021 4:35 AM EST


Could have role on offense Sunday

Freeman could step in as the Texans' No. 2 running back behind Rex Burkhead in Sunday's game against the Colts with David Johnson (thigh/illness) listed as questionable for the contest but not expected to play, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: While both Burkhead and Johnson were active for last week's loss to the Dolphins, the two handled all of the Texans' running-back snaps, relegating Freeman exclusively to special-teams work. Johnson's absence will likely allow Burkhead to take on a greater portion of the snaps and touches out of the backfield, but expect Freeman to have at least a small role on offense as a change-of-pace option. Freeman isn't projected to see enough volume to make him a trustworthy play in weekly fantasy lineups, but a strong showing Sunday could allow him to earn more work during the final quarter of the season.

Dec 5, 2021 6:15 AM EST


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