Given his draft capital, running back Saquon Barkley is a fantasy bust for the 2021 season. For Week 14, the New York Giants and Barkley are playing a Los Angeles Chargers defense that is in the top five in rushing yards per attempt given up and fantasy points given up to opposing running backs. The potential for Barkley to aggravate his ankle injury or suffer a setback from his surgically-repaired knee is always on the table. In a must-win matchup for the last regular season game of the fantasy season, fantasy managers need better assurance from their first round/early second round draft pick.
Fantasy Football: Saquon Barkley is a bust candidate for Week 14
For a potentially plus matchup, uncertainty around the new direction of the Giants offense after they fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and quarterback Mike Glennon behind center will make Saquon Barkley’s job more difficult. In fact, Glennon himself is dealing with an injury, and third stringer Jake Fromm could end up being the starter on Sunday. While Barkley should receive the majority of rushing work, the Chargers will focus on stopping him and not worry about the Giants’ anemic passing offense.
In a negative gamescript, Barkley should still get receiving work, but with Mike Glennon behind center, that prospect could limit Barkley’s fantasy ceiling. Fantasy managers and DFS players should be wary of starting the Giants’ running back, but because he is their only offensive weapon right now, it might come down to guaranteed volume against whether Barkley would be efficient with his touches.
Rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney‘s return to the lineup could help open up the field for Saquon Barkley and the Giants offense, but that prospect is much more limited to whoever is behind center for the Giants.
Since his return from an ankle injury in Week 11, Barkley himself is averaging a pedestrian 40 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards per game, and he has yet to find the end zone for a touchdown.
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Fantasy managers may not have much choice on their roster to bench Saquon Barkley, but if they have better options such as running backs Javonte Williams, James Robinson, or Kareem Hunt, they should look at them instead. At best, Barkley would be a flex play given the workload and potential to fall into the end zone for a solid fantasy day. Buyers beware, but given the draft capital, fantasy managers may not have much choice but to start the former Rookie of the Year.