Fantasy football managers who invested a high first-round pick in Saquon Barkley this year are feeling a bit disappointed with the return on their investment. The New York Giants running back has rushed just 60 times for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has added 20 receptions for 161 receiving yards and a touchdown, but these numbers fall well behind the lofty expectations.
Barkley is the RB45 in standard scoring this season. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. He’s only played eight games while other RBs have played 11. But the picture isn’t much rosier when looking at his points per game. He’s the RB33 by that metric, sandwiched between AJ Dillon and Zack Moss.
Saquon Barkley needs to prove that he’s still an elite RB
We knew that there was the possibility that Barkley would miss some time during the offseason, and that’s why some fantasy managers acquired him at a perceived discount. He was healthy enough to play in Week 1, but he didn’t look to be 100%. However, the assumption was that he’d be the same fantasy superstar when he was available. That hasn’t been the case.
Barkley has missed four games with an ankle injury sustained in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants had their bye week in Week 10, and the hope was that Barkley would return fully healthy. Unfortunately, he still looked to be struggling.
Barkley was active for last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but carried the ball just 6 times for 25 yards and added 6 receptions for 31 yards. He didn’t look like the dynamic playmaker of previous years.
Barkley has spent the week on the Giants’ injury report. The ankle injury is still restricting him, and he’s been a limited participant in practice every day. Barkley’s listed as questionable for Week 12, but the Giants are optimistic that he can play.
Barkley could be the perfect weapon in Week 12
The Giants face the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12. It will be the team’s first game without Jason Garrett calling the plays after the Giants fired the veteran coach following last week’s loss.
Fantasy managers will be hoping that a new play-caller will bring with him a more creative approach. Barkley is still one of the team’s best players, and his ineffectiveness won’t have gone unnoticed.
Should you start Barkley in Week 12?
The Eagles have struggled against running backs this season, and the game represents an excellent opportunity for Barkley to return to form. The Eagles allow the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs in both standard and PPR scoring.
If he cannot play, Devontae Booker would see the bulk of the work at running back. Booker stepped in when Barkley was injured without a noticeable drop-off in the offense’s efficiency. As expected, his number of touches dropped significantly when Barkley returned, but there was never any doubt that Barkley would be the workhorse. Barkley’s not the elite fantasy option he once was, but his volume and upside still make him a strong start.