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Fantasy Football Dynasty Price Check - Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, Draft Sleepers

Much like the stock market, the value of every player in a dynasty format has ebbs and flows with opportunities to buy in or cash out. There will be times when the stock peaks, meaning the player has reached the highest value of their career, and there are valleys when a player's value is the lowest it'll ever be. In either case, accurately assessing where they are in their lifespan enables you to capitalize on these situations.

It is most vital for the running back position, primarily because they rarely produce more than three to five elite seasons, and their value can plummet instantaneously. It is particularly true for ball carriers approaching their age-28 season, which tends to be when they hit the cliff.

With that in mind, we'll be checking in on the price of Saquon Barkley, running back for the New York Giants. Below you'll find a summary of his career to date, an overview of his current market value, what to expect in 2023, and a recommendation for how to approach him in dynasty, whether he's on your team or not. Let's dig in.

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Saquon Barkley Career Summary

Barkley entered the league in 2018 as the No. 2 overall pick. He was one of the most elite prospects at the position with few, if any, tailbacks warranting comparison since. His rookie campaign was incredible, producing over 2,000 all-purpose yards, rightfully earning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, not to mention a Pro Bowl appearance. He was inactive for three games during his sophomore season but still rushed for over 1,000 yards and added another 438 through the air. The combination of his age and production profile skyrocketed him to the top of dynasty rankings as the overall RB1.

Unfortunately, that would be his peak value due to a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season. He missed the remainder of that year, and despite suiting for their season-opener in 2021, he was not the same player. He managed to be on the field for 13 of their 17 contests, but his numbers declined massively. He totaled less than 1,000 scrimmage yards even though he touched the ball almost 300 times. Many began to speculate about his durability, explosiveness, and future production.

He answered the bell last season, posting another elite year with over 1,600 total yards and double-digit touchdowns in a mostly one-dimensional offense. He averaged 4.5 yards per attempt as a rusher and 7.4 yards per reception as a pass-catcher. The underlying metrics support the raw data as well. He finished sixteenth in missed tackles forced, fifth in yards after contact, sixth in rushing yards over expectation, and second in breakaway runs (15-plus yards). His efficiency numbers weren't as great, 40th in elusiveness and 30th in efficiency, but the sheer volume propelled him to an RB6 finish.

 

Saquon Barkley Dynasty Ranking

Let's move to where dynasty managers are currently valuing him. Keeptradecut.com uses crowdsourcing to generate dynasty rankings. They have Barkley as the RB6 with a value of 5,474 points. For comparison, that places him within 100 points of Jahmyr Gibbs, Drake London, Tee Higgins, DeVonta Smith, and DK Metcalf, as well as just ahead of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Tyreek Hill, and Kyle Pitts. The only other players ranked above him at the position are Gibbs, Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall, Jonathan Taylor, and Christian McCaffrey, which is some impressive company to keep.

Moreover, his current value represents a downward trend from the RB4 at the end of the season until now. Additionally, he was ranked as the RB7 earlier in May, meaning there's been some fluctuation, but for the most part, managers still believe in him for 2023 and beyond.

 

Saquon Barkley 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook

Let's start with the 2023 portion of that final sentence. The Giants have been very active this offseason, particularly at the wide receiver and tight end spots. They signed a plethora of good but not great pass-catchers, featuring the likes of Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Isaiah Hodgins, and Jamison Crowder. They also selected Jalin Hyatt 73rd overall in the third round. Plus, they still have Wan'Dale Robinson, who flashed before getting injured.

Their most significant move came at tight end where they traded for the former Pro Bowler, Darren Waller. Outside of Waller, the sum of the parts are definitely greater than any of the pieces, but it does represent a massive upgrade in terms of their overall receiving corps.

There are different ways to view this upgrade as it pertains to Barkley. One is to project his receiving and rushing volume to decrease because they have more options to throw to and don't need to rely entirely on their rushing attack. He finished third in touches last season. Another would be to assign more points and touchdowns scored this season to the Giants, who finished 18th and 16th, respectively. If the offense improves because they have better weapons, there will be more opportunities to find the end zone. Both are likely to have an impact, resulting in another top-10 finish, likely around the RB6 mark he ended at last year. For reference, he's currently ranked as the RB3 in RotoBaller's best ball rankings.

 

Saquon Barkley Dynasty Recommendation

Now that we've ventured through his career to date, his dynasty value, and what 2023 will hold, it's time to evaluate how to approach him in a dynasty league. We know he has the ability to produce a top-five season, offering plenty of upside in the immediate future. The real question is what happens beyond that. The best indicators of a player's future value are age, injury history, contract situation, and past production. We can check past production off the list as a positive for Barkley.

Where things begin to take a turn are the other three factors mentioned. Let's start with age. He's 26.3 years old, which means he'll enter next season at 27.7. Based on the age cliff data, that'll likely be his final highly productive campaign. How steep the dropoff is from there is hard to predict, but falling outside the top-15, even outside the top 20, isn't unrealistic.

Next up is his injury history. Fortunately, he took the field for all 16 games the G-Men played their starters last season, but that hasn't been the norm for Barkley. His only other complete season was his rookie year. Furthermore, we know multiple running backs sustain season-ending injuries each and every year, increasing the probability he experiences another ailment.

The last piece here is his contract. The team attempted to negotiate a long-term deal but after failing to do so, elected to place the franchise tag on him instead. Not only does this reduce their need to manage his usage and durability, but it also means he'll be a 27-year-old free agent after this season. That's not the situation you want for a player so foundational to the success of your fantasy squad.

It's impossible to give a recommendation that will suit every manager in every league, but the consensus would be to sell high on the former Penn State product. It's a no-brainer for anyone in the process of a rebuild, or a "productive struggle," as some prefer, but even as a contender, there are ways to move on without giving up your shot at a title. You can look cross-positionally at wide receiver, acquiring someone like Higgins, Metcalf, or Smith, all of whom offer top-15, if not top 12 output this season. Plus you gain years of production for your roster because of the position they play and their ages, ranging from 24.3 to 25.4 years old.

Similarly, if your roster specifically requires a tailback, you can target Josh Jacobs or Rhamondre Stevenson to maintain similar production. Plus, get an additional player or draft pick. These two are only about one year younger, but it opens your window a little more. If you're willing to move down another tier, you could really fetch a nice package. For example, someone like J.K. Dobbins or Dameon Pierce, both of whom are in good situations and are at least two years younger. Once again adding more assets at the same time. 

Regardless of your situation, now seems like a great time to consider moving on from Barkley.



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