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Shark Bites

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that, "The Giants will likely see RB Saquon Barkley by Week 3 and although no one will rush him, no one has completely ruled out Week 1, either." Both Barkley and the Giants coaching staff have hinted all offseason that the star back might be not ready come Week 1 -- but this is the first real timetable for a debut we've gotten. "This is a long-term play," Rapoport adds. "No one is gonna rush Saquon on the field." A healthy Barkley still has a fantasy ceiling that rises near the top of his position. But fantasy owners should plan to potentially be without him for the first game or 2. And he probably won't be back to 100% until October at the earliest.

Recent Shark Bites

Giants beat writer Paul Schwartz writes that RB Saquon Barkley could lead the team in catches. As Schwartz put it, “there are times when it almost seems as if there is a need to tone down how much Barkley is finding the ball in his hands.” New HC Brian Daboll is using this time to narrow down how the contract-year RB will be used. “You see him,’’ Daboll said. “I mean, you saw him coming out of Penn State. You see him running around here. He’s a pretty skilled player. So, our job is to figure out ways to use him, whether he did it last year or the year before, two years, in college.’’ We remain firmly behind Barkley as a Round 2 fantasy selection.

The Giants have moved RB Saquon Barkley around the formation in OTAs. NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt says that in addition to traditional RB routes, Barkley has "on numerous occasions" lined up as a receiver -- both in the slot and outside. It fits with what we (and Rosenblatt) expected to see from Barkley's role based on the words of new HC Brian Daboll. Rosenblatt also notes that Barkley is the healthiest he's been entering summer "maybe since his rookie year." There's big fantasy upside on the Giants' feature back

Beat writer Dan Duggan puts the odds of RB Saquon Barkley returning to the Giants in 2023 at 40%. Barkley, who enters a contract year, was the focus of offseason trade rumors. Duggan considers the franchise tag a potential “compromise option” next spring, but it’ll be costly ($13 million). Of course, Barkley’s 2021 performance will play some role in his future with New York. But we agree that he'll likely play elsewhere in 2023.

After listening to new Giants HC Brian Daboll speak at the NFL owners' meetings on Tuesday, insider Zack Rosenblatt came away believing that RB Saquon Barkley will be a bigger part of the passing game this season. "Saquon is a unique guy," Daboll said. "If you go back I’ve watched all of his tape all the way back from his rookie year when he had (91) catches. He’s a versatile player ... I’m excited to work with him.” After averaging 5.7 catches per game as a rookie, Barkley has sunk to 3.5 per game over the last 3 seasons. Look for that number to rebound this season, assuming good health for Barkley.

Giants GM Joe Schoen emphasized Monday from the NFL owners' meetings that he is "not shopping Saquon Barkley." The new GM drew headlines at the Scouting Combine by saying he'd listen to calls on all players. He acknowledged that "a couple of teams have reached out" on the veteran RB but added, "I haven't called one team about Saquon Barkley." It doesn't sound like we should expect Barkley to move this offseason. (We'll see whether that changes.)

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