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Saquon Barkley - Fantasy Points Outlook

Basic Stats Basic Stats

Saquon Barkley


#5 Running Back

241 Projected Points

ADP: 1.5
Bye: 10
Experience: 3 Yr(s)
Age: 24
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 233
40 Time: 4.40

2021 Projections & Outlook


#5 Running Back

241 Projected Points

ADP Rush Atts Rush Yds Rush TDs 100 Fum Rec Rec Yds Rec TDs
1.5 255 1165 10 5 1 57 466 3

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Basic Stats Preseason Player Analysis

What You Need to Know:

  • Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 2 last season. He also sustained a partial meniscus tear and MCL strain. The largest impact of the latter 2 details appears to have been delaying the surgery date a little to allow swelling to subside.
  • Although all 3 ailments are reportedly healing well, with no setbacks, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported in late May: “The idea is to bring Barkley along slowly to make sure he’s healthy for the duration of the 17-game season, and hopefully a postseason. Having Barkley, 24, return to his rookie season form as well as the same usage in the first few weeks of the 2021 season was never realistic.”
    • We’ll see this summer whether that plan came from the team or is a reporter’s projection.
  • The reason we all care so much, of course, is because Barkley was a beast in his lone full healthy season so far.
    • He led all RBs in PPR points as a 2018 rookie, trailing only Todd Gurley in points per game.
    • Barkley ranked 3rd among RBs in targets (121), 2nd in catches (91) and 4th in receiving yards (721).
    • He checked in 10th in yards after contact per attempt among 62 RBs with 60+ carries and finished 9th in Pro Football Focus’ elusive rating.
  • A high-ankle sprain interrupted his sophomore campaign, but Barkley still ranked 7th in PPR points per game in 2019. That jumps to 5th if you remove his injury game at Tampa.
    • Barkley tied for 13th in yards after contact per attempt in 2019 and ranked 13th in elusive rating.
    • He might have been on his way to something bigger.
  • Barkley racked up 139 and 135 total yards in the first 2 games that season, before the Week 3 injury. He then averaged just 3.2 yards per rush and 7.3 per catch over the 7 games following his return. Barkley then tallied 143, 279 and 117 total yards in the final 3 games. Those 3 combined with the first 2 games produce 6.3 yards per rush and 10.0 yards per reception. (To be fair, that’s a pair of small samples. And there’s no way to know how much and how long the high-ankle sprain affected him.)
  • We don’t have many recent high-volume RBs with ACL returns to help set our expectations.
    • Dalvin Cook came off a 2017 tear to average just 12.1 carries over 11 games in 2018, with Latavius Murray averaging 8.8.
    • Jamaal Charles didn’t do much over 3 seasons following his 2015 tear, but that was his 2nd. He followed his 2011 tear with an RB9 PPR season that found him playing 16 games and averaging 17.8 carries per outing.
    • Todd Gurley saw his 2015 rookie season start 3 games late because of an ACL tear in his final college campaign, but he posted strong production in a bad Rams offense once he returned.
    • Knowshon Moreno and Rashard Mendenhall each missed 8+ games and lost 0.5 off their per-carry averages the season after their 2011 tears.
    • Adrian Peterson, of course, rebounded from his 2011 tear to deliver a magical 2012, including a career-high 2,097 yards.
  • The mixed bag of historical results says we should keep watching Barkley’s return closely.
  • He should return to a RB-friendly offense. Giants OC Jason Garrett has spent 14 seasons as an NFL OC or HC. Those offenses have averaged just a 57.7%, with only 2 reaching 60% pass. Last year’s Giants sat right in the middle of the league in run-pass split, despite going 4-12 and losing their star RB in Week 2.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

A healthy Saquon Barkley sits on the top shelf of RBs in the NFL (and fantasy). Just how close to full health he is, though, and how much early-season use he’ll get will bear watching as we move through summer. At this point, it seems wise to expect lighter usage at least early in the season.

That adds risk to Barkley as an early 1st-round pick. It helps his case, though, that just about any early RB carries some risk. And patience with Barkley could unlock his extreme upside.


Recent Shark Bites View All Shark Bites »

The Giants announced Thursday that RB Saquon Barkley is opening camp on the active/PUP list. That means the team can activate him at any point. Barkley would need to remain on the list all the way until the final cutdown to 53 players to be eligible for the regular-season PUP. We'll obviously track his participation and status throughout camp. We're assuming at this point Barkley will be active for the start of the season.

View all Saquon Barkley Shark Bites »

Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) said "we'll see" when asked Monday about his availability for Week 1. "Taking it day by day. Just listening to my body," he added. "Whenever I'm able to get out there, just make sure I'm 110 percent. Not just for ... my well-being, but just so I go out there and compete at a high level and show the world who Saquon is." While it would have been nice for Barkley to sound confident about his readiness for the start of the season, this was a more honest answer. We're still almost 2 months away from Week 1, so it's reasonable that neither he nor the Giants know whether he'll be ready. We should have a better idea by the end of August. For now, Barkley is the biggest risk/reward pick in Round 1 of fantasy drafts.

View all Saquon Barkley Shark Bites »

Giants RB Saquon Barkley, speaking to the media for the 1st time this year, refused to give a timetable for his return from knee surgery. "You know me, I’ll take it one day at a time," Barkley said. "It’s going to be whenever my body tells me I’m ready." It's noteworthy because players tend to be over-optimistic about their recoveries. ESPN's Jordan Raanan suggested a couple of weeks ago that Barkley might be limited at the beginning of the season. His status will be 1 of the bigger fantasy storylines this summer.

View all Saquon Barkley Shark Bites »

Expecting Giants RB Saquon Barkley to "return to his rookie season form as well as the same usage in the first few weeks of the 2021 season was never realistic," ESPN's Jordan Raanan writes. Barkley has had a setback-free rehab so far and has resumed sprinting. But he's returning from a serious knee injury that included damage to his ACL, MCL and meniscus. He's expected to be limited in training camp and won't be integrated "back into the full-time mix ... until sometime during the regular season." The Giants added RBs Devontae Booker, Corey Clement, Ryquell Armstead and rookie Gary Brightwell this offseason. No big names -- but some bodies to potentially take some snaps and touches off Barkley's hands. We'll keep a close eye on his progress this summer.

View all Saquon Barkley Shark Bites »

Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) is "on track" to be ready for the start of the season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Barkley tore his right ACL on September 20, so he'll be nearly a year removed when the 2021 campaign kicks off. We'll keep a close eye on his progress this summer. Barkley's ADP is sitting at 1.03 in early best-ball drafts at FFPC, so don't expect to get a post-injury discount.

View all Saquon Barkley Shark Bites »

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