Saquon Barkley Injury Update: Will he suit up against the Cowboys in Week 15?

With RB Saquon Barkley again popping up on the Giants' injury report, what is his status for Week 15 against the Cowboys?

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley is back on the injury report heading into Week 15. What is Barkley’s status for Sunday against the Cowboys, and what can fantasy football managers expect from the Giants’ backfield?

Saquon Barkley sits out practice Wednesday

For much of the season, Barkley has dealt with a nagging ankle injury, which caused him to go on short-term IR in the middle of the year.

Since his return in Week 11, Barkley has played in every game, averaging 16.25 touches in that span. In Week 13, he saw a season-high 9 targets. Furthermore, in Week 14, Barkley totaled 19 touches — his highest since Week 3.

Clearly, Barkley has again showcased himself as the RB1 in the Giants’ backfield. Evidenced by his 17.0 fantasy points and RB11 overall finish in half-PPR scoring last week, he’s also beginning to reward fantasy managers who have been patient with his status throughout the season.

With the fantasy playoffs in full swing, it would seem that patience has paid off for fantasy managers. But nothing is ever as it seems.

Barkley’s injury status has regressed in consecutive weeks

As PFN Fantasy Analyst Jason Katz pointed out in the Thursday edition of PFN’s fantasy injury report, Barkley did not pop up on the injury report at all two weeks ago. Then, last week, he practiced on a limited basis, and now we see him listed as a DNP for Wednesday.

Early reports indicate that it was simply a rest day for the Giants’ RB, and it very well may be. Fortunately, Barkley did return to practice on Thursday, indicating he’ll be good to go. Nevertheless, I agree with Katz that “this is certainly not nothing.”

Following his standout rookie campaign, and particularly last year, when he was forced to miss the vast majority of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, Barkley’s injury status has been a concern. Even if active for Week 15, his ankle injury is sure to be an issue for the remaining few weeks.

If Barkley’s ankle gets worse (as his week-to-week practice participation seems to indicate), it’s highly possible head coach Joe Judge and the Giants elect to shut him down for the remainder of the year. With New York all but out of the NFC playoff picture and backup RB Devontae Booker still receiving a considerable workload, there’s a possibility that Barkley’s season could be cut short.

Can you trust Barkley for fantasy on Sunday against the Cowboys?

If Barkley is active as early reports suggest him to be, you’re starting him. The Cowboys are a middle-of-the-road defense against running backs, giving up 17.3 fantasy points per game. With Barkley practicing on Thursday, there’s no reason to believe he won’t see the high volume workload that he’s received over the past few weeks.

Yet, don’t be surprised if it’s also the last such workload Barkley gets in 2021.

Is Devontae Booker worth a stash?

The Giants are already without quarterback Daniel Jones (neck). In truth, it’s a wonder he hasn’t been placed on the injured reserve. With the playoffs being an afterthought, Barkley could be shut down sooner than later. Thus, if you have the roster availability, adding Booker to your bench now may prove wise down the stretch.

From Weeks 5-9 with Barkley banged up, Booker was the RB9 overall in fantasy, averaging 14.1 fantasy ppg. Booker is also averaging more yards than Barkley on a per-carry basis this year (4.1 to Barkley’s 3.8). Furthermore, he’s seen double-digit touches in back-to-back weeks with Barkley in the lineup.

There’s been no indication from the Giants’ organization that they’re considering sitting Barkley. But with the team looking ahead to 2022, fantasy managers should think ahead for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs and add Booker, if possible.

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