Saquon Barkley badly sprained his ankle in the Giants’ Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. That puts Devontae Booker atop the New York’s RB depth chart and makes him a top fantasy football waiver wire pickup for Week 6.
Devontae Booker is a top Week 6 waiver wire target
Following Barkley’s departure, Booker was the clear lead back in New York. He is set up to be a viable fantasy starter for as long as Barkley remains out.
Devontae Booker could have a Wayne Gallman-like run
From Weeks 7-13 in 2020, Wayne Gallman averaged 15.8 ppg while filling in for an injured Barkley. The Giants used Gallman as their every-down back. If last week’s game is any indication, they intend to use Booker the same way.
Booker played virtually every snap, with Elijhaa Penny popping up as a fullback. Booker logged an 88% snap share and posted 20 PPR fantasy points. He carried the ball 16 times for 42 yards and caught 3-of-4 targets for 16 yards, scoring both on the ground and through the air.
How aggressive should fantasy managers be to acquire Booker off the waiver wire?
As always, the price you pay to acquire Booker is relative to need. With bye weeks beginning in Week 6, the overall quality of fantasy starting lineups is about to dip. Accordingly, the value of someone like Booker increases.
Decide how valuable Booker is to your fantasy lineup
If you roster Barkley, it’s likely that you need to be extra aggressive in targeting Booker. You should absolutely be willing to burn the No. 1 waiver priority on Booker. You should be willing to spend a large percentage of your FAAB on him as well. If you do not roster Barkley, do you need a startable RB2 or flex? What is your bye situation?
We don’t know how long Saquon Barkley will be out
We know Barkley is not playing in Week 6. We’re reasonably confident he’s not playing Week 7. However, he could be back as early as Week 8. It’s also possible the Giants hold Barkley out through their Week 10 bye if he’s on the back-end of the projected timeframe. If Barkley can’t return by Week 8, my guess is he won’t play until Week 11.
If you have a team in need of a starter, you should approach Booker on the waiver wire as if he is going to get four full weeks of the Giants’ backfield to himself. How valuable is that to you? That’s a decision for you to make.
Four weeks is about 28% of the fantasy regular season. I would be willing to spend heavily on a weekly RB2/flex that I was getting for four weeks.
If Barkley does return after just two weeks, then it’s possible your expenditure looks excessive. That is a risk we take. Injuries are tricky, and the game of football is even trickier.
What is Booker’s outlook?
The Giants’ four games leading up to their bye are as follows: vs. Rams, vs. Panthers, at Chiefs, vs. Raiders.
The Rams and Panthers are tougher matchups, but the Giants will be home for both games. The Chiefs and Raiders are fantastic matchups, but it’s possible Barkley is back for those games. His fantasy managers are certainly salivating at the notion.
There’s also the added wrinkle that Daniel Jones’ status is up in the air following his concussion. It goes without saying that Booker is less desirable in a Mike Glennon offense.
Nevertheless, Booker can produce fantasy numbers even with the Giants losing/not playing well due to his projected volume. He touched the ball 19 times last week. If he’s getting 15-20 opportunities a game, he will be worth starting, and you hope he finds a way to fall into the end zone.
What should you do before waivers clear Wednesday morning?
Barkley is a notoriously fast healer, but with the Giants’ season all but over, expect the team to exercise caution with him. I would approach Booker as if we are getting four starts out of him.
If you know you are going to be able to start Booker over the coming weeks, target him hyper-aggressively — he’s worth nearly 50% of your FAAB. If he would merely be depth or protection against injury, it’s worth putting in a bid, but you can be a bit more disciplined, perhaps just 20-30%.
Regardless of your team construction, you should at least be making a play for Booker on the Week 6 waiver wire. Starting running backs don’t come available often. And at this point in the season, even if you don’t need him, someone else does — which might present a trade opportunity. Booker is the top waiver wire pickup for Week 6.