Saquon Barkley Start/Sit Week 2: Giants RB looking to get back on track

After a disappointing start to the 2021 campaign, Saquon Barkley will aim to turn around his fantasy season in Week 2. Is he a must-start?

Saquon Barkley’s 2021 fantasy football season got off to a disappointing start as the Giants fell to the Denver Broncos in Week 1. The New York running back rushed 10 times for just 26 yards, adding a single receiving yard on 1 catch. While it’s not the production that fantasy managers were looking for, it wasn’t without positives.

Should I start Saquon Barkley in Week 2?

If you drafted Barkley in the first round of your fantasy draft, you’re unlikely to have a better option for this week, and his upside makes him a strong start.

The Giants offense should run through Saquon Barkley

The Giants put concerns over a potential timeshare to rest. Barkley comfortably out-touched Devontae Booker, who had just 4 rushes and 1 reception. Since entering the league, Booker has proven that he’s little more than a replacement-level player, failing to earn feature roles with both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders.

While Booker has seen some success as a receiving option, much of that production came while playing alongside C.J. Anderson and Josh Jacobs, who offer far less than Barkley as a pass catcher. He should be little more than a change-of-pace option when Barkley needs a rest.

With Barkley returning to health, he should continue to be more involved. He’s the most talented player on the Giants, and the team is at its best when he’s the focal point. His 2020 season was over before it had really begun, with a torn ACL in Week 2 forcing him into knee surgery.

If you’re a fantasy manager who drafted Barkley, though, you did so because of his upside. That upside is a player who had 352 touches, 2,028 scrimmage yards, and 15 touchdowns as a rookie with 5.8 yards per touch. Barkley followed that up with 269 touches for 1,441 yards and 8 touchdowns in his second season, despite injuries limiting him to 13 games.

Saquon Barkley has a tough fantasy matchup with the Washington Football Team

It’s difficult to overlook just how ineffective the Giants’ rushing attack looked in Week 1. Outside of Daniel Jones’ scrambling, the team registered just 33 yards rushing on 14 attempts. New York’s offensive line, of course, has been a weakness for years.

There were some encouraging signs, and while New York’s front five wasn’t the disastrous unit it once was, it struggled to create holes in the run game. For a player with the athleticism of Barkley, even one opportunity in space can be the difference between a good fantasy football score and an underwhelming one.

On Thursday Night Football, the Giants face one of the top defensive lines in the NFL in the Washington Football Team. Washington is fresh off limiting Austin Ekeler, one of the league’s most dynamic and elusive backs, to just 57 yards. Don’t be surprised if the 11 touches Ekeler had in the season opener is the lowest number he has all year.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick facing a spell on the sideline, Washington is turning to Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. Heinicke is a competent backup, but he’s a downgrade for the offense. Barkley managers will be hoping that the change under center keeps the game close. Barkley is a good receiving option, but his value diminishes if the Giants are forced to push the ball downfield.

Is Saquon Barkley playing in Week 2?

Traveling on a short week isn’t ideal, but Giants head coach Joe Judge has been aware of the schedule for some time and was happy to play Barkley in Week 1. The fourth-year running back has been limited in practice recently, but that could simply be precautionary for a player coming off a long-term knee injury.

Still, Barkley is officially listed as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Washington Football Team. However, he is active and expected to play. As always, though, make sure you continuously check for updates before Thursday Night Football kicks off for the very latest.

Barkley is currently the RB13 in our Week 2 fantasy running back rankings. He’s a borderline RB1 who should see enough volume to be productive. The future is bright for Barkley, with a mouthwatering matchup with the Atlanta Falcons coming in Week 3.

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