Saquon Barkley Start/Sit Week 14: Will Barkley be better than Devontae Booker?

How much should fantasy managers trust Saquon Barkley in Week 14 against the Chargers, and could Devontae Booker make any fantasy noise?

Few great players have dealt with as much injury adversity as Saquon Barkley. Not only has he missed games for the third straight season, but he’s also clearly not playing at a high level. So the question on many fantasy football managers’ minds is: How much can we trust Barkley as a must-start RB in Week 14, and could backup Devontae Booker cap his ceiling?

What can we expect from Saquon Barkley in Week 14?

Let’s isolate Saquon’s performance last Sunday against Miami when he rushed 11 times for an impressive 55 yards while catching 6 balls for 19 yards. Certainly, PPR managers were pleased to get 13.4 fantasy points from someone who hadn’t exceeded that output since Week 4. A near-universal first-round fantasy draft pick, Barkley has the upside to be an RB1 if things break right, and in Week 13, there was a glimmer of hope that he could turn things around.

The problem is that we can’t yet assume Week 13 was a sign of an impending upswing. Barkley played on 75% of snaps compared to 87% the week before. 4.2 of his fantasy points — 31% of his total — came in the game’s final minute.

And when it comes to scoring opportunities, his red-zone work this season has been abysmal: 5 rushing attempts for 11 yards and zero receptions on only 1 target. Barkley is not delivering where it matters most to this team, and his fantasy numbers have suffered as a result.

The Giants have scored the fifth-fewest points in the league. Game script is not in their favor. Barkley’s best hope on the road today against a tough Chargers defense is to rack up receptions while playing from behind. Another 13-point performance is entirely possible. But I’d put his over/under at 10 points. He’s a fringe RB3.

What can we expect from Devontae Booker in Week 14?

Few RB backups this year have been as surprisingly good as Booker. In four starts in place of Barkley in Weeks 6-9, Booker rushed 62 times for 251 yards (4.0 ypc). In each game, his carries and yardage increased.

The Giants went 1-2 in his last three starts against the Panthers, Chiefs, and Rams — hardly favorable matchups. During those three games, the Giants averaged 21 points per game. In all their other contests, they’ve averaged 16.6.

Statistically, Booker has played just as well as Barkley this season. In fact, on the field, Booker arguably has looked more explosive. The key with Booker is that he’s also adept in the passing game, catching 26 of 29 targets for 201 yards and a score. His 4 receptions last week reminded us the Giants are not forgetting about him. 10 touches in Week 13 is nothing to sneeze at.

Booker is risky for entirely different reasons than Barkley. Saquon is a higher-than-normal re-injury risk struggling to regain his form. Booker, on the other hand, is a backup who’s teetering on standalone value. I’d put Booker’s Week 14 over/under for fantasy points at 7.5. If you desperately need a decent-upside RB4 in your No. 2 RB slot, he’s worth the risk.

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