As we inch toward the new season, the ever-changing NFL landscape has player fantasy values constantly on the move. Whether you’re used to the dynasty platform or are still learning the rules, let’s dive into the latest dynasty value of Saquon Barkley.
Saquon Barkley’s Dynasty Outlook and Value
Among the 2023 free agent class, Barkley is arguably the best running back available from a fantasy football perspective. He wasn’t the best in 2022, but talent-wise, he likely has the most to offer.
Without question, the highest-profile non-quarterback set to hit free agency is Barkley. Now entering his sixth NFL season, the generational talent is still looking for a season even remotely close to what he did as a rookie.
Back in 2018, Barkley burst onto the scene with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. He averaged 24 fantasy points per game, finishing as the overall RB3.
Barkley’s follow-up would’ve been viewed as a positive for a mere mortal. But for Barkley, 18.8 ppg marked a 5.2 ppg decline from his peak.
In 2020, Barkley tore his ACL in the second game of the season. That injury essentially cost him two full seasons, as even though he was able to make it back for the 2021 season, Barkley was a shell of his former self. Between the knee injury and a fluke ankle sprain, Barkley was actually worse than backfield-mate Devontae Booker two years ago.
2022 was a make-or-break year for Barkley. Either the terrible 2021 season was due to injury, and a fully healthy Barkley would bounce back, or he just wasn’t good at football anymore. Fortunately, it turned out to be the former.
While Barkley still can’t get close to matching his rookie season, he did two very important things last year. First, his efficiency rebounded. Barkley averaged 4.4 yards per carry and was 22nd in yards created per touch.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, Barkley played in every game (except for a meaningless Week 18 game his coach wisely held him out of). Although he “only” averaged 17.8 ppg, Barkley re-established himself as a top-five dynasty running back.
Performance-wise, Barkley wasn’t quite the guy he was in 2018, but he was a very good running back. The real issue with his fantasy production was the lack of touchdowns. Barkley didn’t have a single multi-touchdown game, limiting him to five 20+ point games and just one over 30.
Saquon Barkley’s Fantasy Ranking
Barkley is now 26 years old, but he only has 1,201 career touches. He certainly doesn’t strike me as the type of RB to remain elite into his late 20s, but Barkley should have at least three very good years left in him.
There’s obviously uncertainty surrounding his future, given his lack of long-term deal. As expected, the Giants retained Barkley at least for the 2023 season, slapping him with the franchise tag. I would be surprised if Barkley played on the tag, though. The two sides are likely to work out an extension before the season.
Regardless of where Barkley ends up, he’ll remain one of the few three-down backs in the NFL. Dynasty managers should view Barkley as no lower than RB7/8. In our dynasty Superflex rankings, he sits at RB5, No. 26 overall.
I’m more of a buyer than a seller of Barkley’s long-term value. I would not be opposed to making him my first running back selected in dynasty startup drafts.
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