New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley is back on injury report ahead of Week 15. What is Barkley’s status for Sunday against the Cowboys, and what can be done? fantasy football managers expect the Giants backfield?
Saquon Barkley will not train on Wednesday
For much of the season, Barkley had to contend with a lingering ankle injury, which saw him switch to short-term IR midway through the year.
Since returning in Week 11, Barkley has played in every game, averaging 16.25 touches during that span. In week 13 he saw 9 targets, a season high. Additionally, in Week 14 Barkley totaled 19 touches – his highest since Week 3.
Obviously, Barkley presented himself as the RB1 again in the Giants’ backfield. Evidenced by his 17.0 fantasy points and overall RB11 in the half-PPR score last week, he’s also starting to reward fantasy managers who have been patient with his status throughout the season.
With the Fantasy Playoffs in full swing, it looks like patience has paid off for fantasy managers. But nothing is ever what it seems.
Barkley’s injury status has regressed in consecutive weeks
As PFN Fantasy analyst Jason Katz pointed out in the Thursday Edition of PFN’s Fantastic Injury Report, Barkley did not appear on the injury report at all two weeks ago. Then last week he trained on a limited basis, and now we see him listed as DNP for Wednesday.
Early reports indicate it was simply a day off for the Giants’ RB, and maybe it is. Fortunately, Barkley returned to training on Thursday, indicating he will be ready to go. Nonetheless, I agree with Katz that “it is certainly not nothing.”
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Following his exceptional rookie campaign, and particularly last year when he was forced to miss the vast majority of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, Barkley’s injury status has been a concern. Even though he’s active for week 15, his ankle injury will certainly be a problem for the remaining few weeks.
If Barkley’s ankle gets worse (as his participation in the weekly training seems to indicate), it’s quite possible that head coach Joe Judge and the Giants will choose to shut him down for the remainder of the year. With New York almost out of NFC playoff photo and with substitute RB Devontae Booker still receiving a considerable workload, it is possible that Barkley’s season may be cut short.
Can you trust Barkley for the Sunday fantasy against the Cowboys?
If Barkley is active as early reports suggest, you cast him. The Cowboys are an intermediate defense against the running backs, allowing a fantastic 17.3 points per game. With Barkley training on Thursday, there is no reason to believe he won’t be seeing the high volume of work he has received over the past few weeks.
Still, don’t be surprised if this is also the last such caseload Barkley receives in 2021.
Is Devontae Booker worth a stash?
The Giants are already without quarterback Daniel Jones (neck). In truth, it is a miracle that it was not placed in the reserve of the wounded. With the playoffs being an afterthought, Barkley could be shut down sooner rather than later. So, if you have the availability of the roster, adding Booker to your bench now may be worthwhile in the long run.
From Weeks 5-9 with Barkley, Booker was RB9 in the overall fantasy standings, averaging 14.1 points per game. Booker is also averaging more yards than Barkley per carry this year (4.1 vs. 3.8 for Barkley). Plus, he’s seen double-digit hits in consecutive weeks with Barkley in the lineup.
The Giants’ organization has given no indication that they plan to seat Barkley. But with the squad looking to 2022, fantasy managers should anticipate the rest of the fantasy playoffs and add Booker, if possible.