Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented running backs in the game, with tremendous athleticism and sticky hands. He began his career with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, and had over 1,400 his second season, despite being limited to 13 games. Barkley caught 143 balls on 194 targets in his first 29 active games in the league and is the focal point of the Giants’ offense.
Unfortunately, Barkley was limited to a little more than a game last season after tearing his ACL in Week 2. Running backs coming off an ACL tear have had inconsistent results, with guys like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles finding great success the season after a tear, and Deuce McCallister and Edgerrin James providing examples of players who have struggled. Barkley’s athleticism and modern rehab tactics, in addition to his early injury date, would suggest he has a chance to be on the better end of the spectrum, but there’s no doubting it’s a concern when considering a high draft pick on him. He’s also been non-committal on his readiness for Week 1 as recently as early July on The Rich Eisen Show. Also unnerving is the Giants’ dead-last ranking in Justin Edwards’ annual offensive line ranks this year.
2021 Bottom Line
Barkley is a major risk in an offense that could be terrible behind an awful offensive line coming off a devastating ACL tear. He costs a pretty penny in most drafts, with an ADP of 1.05. He could be a league-winner if he pans out and gets back to his pre-injury form, especially due to his ability to contribute heavily in the passing game, but where he’s being drafted, it’s risky. Fantasy owners should consider him if he drops to the late-first or early-second round, but at his current cost, there should be safer options available. We have him ranked as the RB9, which seems about right based on his risk/reward.