Saquon Barkley was one of the most consistent running backs for fantasy football managers a season ago. While the running back had several down years filled with injury and lackluster play (after starting his career with a bang), 2022 was a great way for Barkley to get back on track with the New York Giants.
But Barkley is back on the injury report in 2023 after getting banged up in Week 2. What is Barkley’s status for Thursday night? Will he be able to suit up for Week 3? And what are the options for the Giants and fantasy managers if Barkley can’t go?
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Is Saquon Barkley Playing Thursday Night Football Week 3?
Barkley, like the rest of the Giants, had a Week 1 to forget about at the start of this season. But Week 2 was a different story. After being shut out in the first half of their game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Giants came roaring back in the second half to win 31-28.
Barkley finished the game with 63 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving, and two touchdowns (one by land, one by air). However, the back also finished the game on the bench.
With just over a minute to play in the game and the Giants already in field goal range, Barkley was tackled after a short run and had his ankle rolled up in the pile. Barkley was diagnosed with an ankle sprain and has an expected return of around three weeks.
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Obviously, this means Barkley will have to sit out Week 3 when the Giants play the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football. He will be unable to contribute for his fantasy teams for now.
Potential Fantasy Options If Barkley Is Out Includes Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon
With Barkley missing Thursday night’s game, the Giants will turn to backup running back Matt Breida. While never sustaining huge numbers in a single season, Breida has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his career. If the Giants give the ball to Breida, he could certainly find success and bring in some solid fantasy points.
Of course, the Giants are playing a tough 49ers defense this week. The chances of Breida having a big game are not that great. You may be better off digging on your bench or elsewhere in free agency to replace Barkley in your lineup.
A few names that may be available in your fantasy leagues to replace Barkley include: Chuba Hubbard, Latavius Murray, Salvon Ahmed, and Jerick McKinnon.
Of this list, McKinnon is probably my favorite option. While 2023 has started slow for the back, he has a cake matchup this week with the Chicago Bears in town. In back-to-back weeks, Aaron Jones and Rachaad White have had huge games against the Bears defense. If McKinnon sees a good snap share, he could score points early and often for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ultimately, the best option will be the depth on your roster at running back going into the week. But if you have been riddled by injuries and Barkley is just adding to the list, there are some players in free agency that can help you get by for now.
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