The hype surrounding Saquon Barkley following the 2018 NFL Draft was deserved. He was just that good at Penn State. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented Barkley from reaching those heights as a professional, earning him the mark as one of the more unreliable fantasy players out there.
With Brian Daboll in as the New York Giants head coach, fans are hoping that this is the year Barkley stays healthy and proves his worth. But is the 25-year-old still a worthwhile fantasy option after so many years of disappointment?
Saquon Barkley Fantasy Football Outlook
Dealing with various injuries, Barkley managed to play 13 games for the Giants in 2021. He turned 162 carries into 593 rushing yards and two touchdowns while also tallying 263 receiving yards and another pair of TDs on 41 receptions.
Barkley will receive all of the opportunities in the world as New York's No. 1 RB once again. However, this is the final year of his rookie contract and he needs to put things together if he wants to stick around in the NFL. That type of situation can bring out the best in a player.
In 2021, the Giants averaged 24.6 carries (No. 25) and 99.3 rushing yards (No. 23) per game. With Daboll calling the shots, Barkley could see an uptick in production. After all, the Buffalo Bills finished top-13 in both of those categories with Daboll as their offensive coordinator.
Saquon Barkley Injury Update
Lower-body injuries have been Barkley's kryptonite throughout his career, so managers are always concerned about re-aggravating any issues. The good news is that there hasn't been any negative news about his knee or ankle, meaning he appears to be in full health now that training camp is underway.
Having said that, it's always important to keep Barkley's injury history at the back of your mind if you're considering him as a fantasy option. Running backs get more banged up than any position and all it takes is one untimely hit to land an injury-prone player like Barkley back on the sidelines.
Saquon Barkley Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook are far from high on Barkley. The former second overall pick is in a six-way tie for the 26th-best odds (+5000) to lead the NFL in rushing yards this fall.
FanDuel has set Barkley's projected rushing yards total at 900.5 with -118 odds on the over while the under sits at -108. Though 900 yards is a realistic goal for a starting running back, Barkley has only recorded 719 rushing yards in his last 17 games.
Last year, Barkley averaged 3.7 yards per carry. If he were to surpass 900.5 yards while averaging that amount, he'd need to see about 244 carries. Considering that he hasn't been healthy enough to see that amount since his rookie year, it wouldn't be shocking if he finished with the under.
Is Saquon Barkley a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
After back-to-back years of disappointing performances, it's hard to recommend Barkley as a fantasy pick. That isn't to say that he's not talented — because he is — but there comes a point where it's tough to justify a high pick on a player whose health is questionable at best.
As it stands, Fantasy Pros lists Barkley as the RB14 with an average draft position of 21.7 in PPR formats. That means he's projected to be a late-second-round pick across most leagues.
If his health was guaranteed, a second-round pick is absolutely worth it for what Barkley, theoretically, can bring to the table. Since that isn't the case, I wouldn't recommend drafting him unless you already have another starting RB on your roster.
If you have drafted Barkley with an early pick, then you check out the best Saquon Barkley fantasy football team names for your squad.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.