Remember Saquon Barkley’s rookie season in 2018? Man, that was something, right? Fast, powerful, quick — he lived up to the hype as that year’s No. 2 overall draft pick, recording more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. He was arguably the best fantasy running back.
It’s funny how four years can feel like an eternity. Since that introduction, Barkley has been done in by the injuries, the New York Giants’ poor offense and, at times, both simultaneously. Let’s look at a couple of Barkley props for this season and assess what it means for his fantasy season.
Saquon Barkley rushing & receiving yards: Over 1300.5 (-125) or Under 1300.5 (-105)
Our pick: OVER
If Barkley stays healthy, he will undoubtedly surpass this number. He doesn't even need 17 games; he exceeded 1,400 yards in just 13 games back in 2019. Obviously, 2020 was washed away by his ACL tear. Last season was a 1-2 punch, with the recovery from his knee reconstruction and an ugly ankle injury in Week 5 — just when it looked like Barkley was regaining his previous form — turning him into a shell of himself. But it’s much too early to call Barkley “injury-prone.” Don’t forget that he is still just 25; we shouldn’t assume that his body is breaking down on him at this point. The training camp reports about him have been inevitably upbeat. Of course, he carries risk because of that medical history and the offense he’s tied to, but this number is pretty low for someone with such dual-threat talents. It would help if the Giants’ offense makes even a modest leap forward. Perhaps new head coach Brian Daboll will work some magic on QB Daniel Jones. Perhaps the Giants’ revamped offensive line will give Barkley wider running lanes. Ultimately, it won’t take much for Barkley, who should be locked in for at least 15-20 touches every game, to average 77 total yards per week. That’s all we need for this number to hit.
Saquon Barkley rushing TDs: Over 7.5 (-115) or Under 7.5 (-115)
Our pick: UNDER
Let’s start this by stating the obvious: Touchdowns are generally fluky. They can come and go and are very difficult to predict. For this specific line, it’s the hook that gets me to the under. The Giants’ O-line will be better, mainly because it has nowhere to go but up. A lot of attention will be paid to first-round pick Evan Neal, but new additions Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski are just as important, and it’s tough to know how this unit will mesh. Moreover, will the Giants’ defense be good enough to allow this team to run the ball as much as it would like later in games? And will Jones absolutely not torpedo this entire operation with his general ineptitude? It feels like eight rushing touchdowns from Barkley, who has seven such TDs in his past 26 games, is asking for a little too much considering the host of the unknowns here.
Fantasy football insight
If Barkley just reaches the bars set here, his fantasy managers will probably be OK with that. He is a late-second or early-third-round pick in most drafts, so that stat line won’t sink your team. He still possesses upside because of his age and natural talents. There are also reasons to be worried, too. Overall, Barkley’s range of outcomes in 2022 is massive. He’s not for the weak of heart, but with some good luck and good health, the return on investment might just win you your league.
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