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Saquon Barkley: Why You Should Still Love Him in Dynasty Leagues

We outline the reasons to believe in Saquon Barkley.

Saquon Barkley

In case you didn’t know, DLF has a YouTube channel! We post FREE video content over there at least five days a week covering dynasty trades, strategy, and player analysis. For my videos specifically, I write out a script to basically read when I record, but I realized that script could be turned into written content for anyone who doesn’t want to watch YouTube to read too! So, without further ado, here is an “article-ized” version of one of my recent videos covering why I still believe in Saquon Barkley for dynasty!

Since the start of 2020, Barkley has only played in 15 games, and in those games, has averaged 12 carries, 4.4 targets, 63 total yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game, for a disappointing 10.6 PPR points per game. That is nowhere near the RB1 overall player we saw in 2018 or even the RB10 player we saw in 2019. Now, I know… a lot of you have been burned hard over the last two years, but my hope is to bring Barkley back into your good graces for the 2022 season because literally every aspect of his game is about to drastically improve this year.

Overall Volume

First up we have overall volume, which I am expecting to take a big jump back to elite levels this year. If you take out the game he got hurt in last year, Barkley was on pace for over 225 carries and 58 receptions, while averaging only 65% of snaps sharing time with Devontae Booker the entire second half of the season.

Now, granted, having to say he shared time with Booker doesn’t look good for my argument, so point there for the haters. But, the fact that he still was on pace for over 280 touches as more of a part-time player speaks to the role he had in that offense last year and the role he WILL have this year. Plus, even if you are concerned about Booker’s role last year, he’s not on the team! Literally the only players behind Barkley are Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, and like three guys I’ve never heard of. This backfield is 100% Barkley’s and 300 touches is a floor for 2022.

Receiving Volume

A big part of his volume in 2022 is his receiving work, which also hasn’t been the same since his rookie season. After seeing 121 targets in his first 16 games, he’s seen 139 targets in his 28 games since. We know the importance that receiving has on fantasy running backs and it was a huge part of what made Barkley the RB1 in 2018, but he just hasn’t had the same receiving role since 2018. Enter Brian Daboll, who has made some great fantasy running backs in the past. Reggie Bush’s first 1,000-yard rushing season? Daboll. Jamaal Charles‘s resurgence to being elite after an ACL injury? Daboll. Remember Madden 12 cover player Peyton Hillis??? Yep, Daboll.

Not only is Daboll going to bring in a fresh new offense, he knows that one of the main things he needs to do is get Barkley the ball in the receiving game. We already heard from Giants minicamp that Barkley was utilized more as a wide receiver than ever before, and when he did line up in the backfield, he was often motioned into the slot or out wide before the snap. From what I’ve heard from training camp so far, that plan has stuck, with Barkley catching the ball not only out of the backfield, but out of bunch formations, out wide, everywhere on the field. That utilization is going to be gold for fantasy football and also could be what helps keep Saquon healthy over an entire season.

Since 2000, every running back with at least 200 carries and 70 receptions has finished as an RB1. And in fact, of the 33 running backs in this sample, 28 of them finished inside the top five and 31 of them were inside the top eight. And let me remind you Barkley was already on pace for 58 receptions last year, so getting 12 more doesn’t seem too difficult in the new Giants offense with a focus on Barkley in the receiving game.

Touchdowns

Another aspect of his game that should greatly improve is touchdowns. Despite having over 200 touches last year, Barkley only scored four total touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air. But I don’t think I need to remind you that the Giants’ offense last year was BAD. They were second to last in the league in points per game and even then, were barely ahead of the Jaguars for last place. Here are the Giants’ point totals when Barkley returned from injury: 10, 13, 9, 21, 6, 10, 3, 7. That’s an average of 9.9 points per game! And even in the game they scored 21, that was only because they scored twice in the last five minutes because the Chargers pulled starters up by 30. For 95% of that game, the Giants were held to seven points, which would drop their average down to 8.1 points per game!

Under Daboll, this team is going to be way better than they were last year, especially in the second half of last year, and they will score more points. Since Barkley is the best playmaker on the team, he should be the betting favorite to score a lot of those touchdowns, right? We don’t need him to score 15+ touchdowns like Austin Ekeler or Jonathan Taylor did last year, but around double digits would work fine. Remember that sample of 33 running backs above? 15 of them had 11 or fewer total touchdowns. Even last year, half of the top ten running backs had ten or fewer touchdowns, including RB3 overall Najee Harris.

Barkley had 15 and 8 total touchdowns in his first two seasons, playing on five- and four-win teams. Even if the Giants aren’t a good team, they should be a lot better than they were last year and Barkley will benefit in the touchdown department.

Dynasty Price

Lastly, the best part about Barkley right now is his current dynasty price. He’s currently a mid-second-round startup pick in 1QB leagues and has been that way since the beginning of 2022.

This entire off-season has been the absolute cheapest he has even been in his career, even cheaper than before he was drafted! This reminds me a lot of Joe Mixon last year when he showed elite fantasy production, but we remembered more recent injuries that derailed his 2020 season. That led to Mixon’s price being the cheapest it ever was prior to the 2021 season, and then look what happened.

In already established leagues, he’s very available through trades, like:

More than likely, the person who has Barkley in your league is probably a bit worried and if you give them what they perceive as a more stable asset, they’ll probably take it and sell Barkley at a discount. There is of course the downside that maybe Barkley isn’t the player he once was and is injury prone. If he fails to produce well this year, he may not be re-signed to the Giants and may get “Melvin Gordon’d” or “James Conner’d” when signing with a new team. I think that’s a low probability, but it’s there nonetheless and I also think that’s baked into his current price, which is what’s making him cheaper than ever.

There is also the fact that he’s 25 years old, meaning he’s coming to the age where he won’t gain significant dynasty value despite elite production. I get this argument, but what I think you’re getting with Barkley is an elite running back for the next two-three years and if he produces like that, he’ll maintain his value over that time as well. Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones are a round and a half below Barkley right now at 27 years old, which is a fine enough value drop for me over the next two years while I’m getting his elite production.

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Saquon Barkley: Why You Should Still Love Him in Dynasty Leagues
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Michael Torriero
1 month ago

Yea…love Barkley this year…hoping he last to the end of the 2nd rd.

Gregory Massa
1 month ago

He just looked done last season. He’s a player I would be OK with missing out on. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.

Justin Harding
1 month ago

This is music to my ears as I have been feeling the same vibe about Barkley all off-season . I bought him back in April in a start 10, 12 team league for the 22 1.04 and Thielen. Only wish I could’ve bought more at that price. Can’t wait for it to pay off!

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