The Saquon Conundrum

I just noticed something curious: For all the experts ranking Saquon Barkley as a top 5 RB, none of them seem to be elevating Daniel Jones this year. That may equate to a lot of touches for Saquon, but it also equates to a lot of stacked defenses looking to stop the run. That isn’t a positive for a running back with an injury history whose name isn’t Derrick Henry.

Kyle Yates had Saquon ranked 5th, but Daniel Jones only ranked as his 18th QB. He had this to say: “As a QB2 in Superflex formats, he’s fine to take a shot on to see if the receiving corps helps. However, he should not be viewed as anything more than a streaming QB that you can roll out only in plus matchups.” At least he did call Saquon an RB bust “in relation to where he’s being drafted”, but that isn’t as much of a downgrade, as he says, “As a late first-round draft pick, the risk is worth the reward. A top-3 pick in your fantasy football draft might be a little bit too rich.” A late first round pick seems to be a heavy investment for someone who has only played 15 out of a possible 32 games in the last two years, and is playing on a team without a very good passing game.

Mike Tagliere is even worse with the Saquon conundrum, ranking Saquon as his 4th RB, but Daniel Jones as his 24th QB. Tags says Jones is nothing “more than a boom-or-bust quarterback who’ll need some rushing totals in order to make him streamer-worthy.” and yet he says this about Saquon: “The Giants suddenly have more weapons than ever in the passing game, so Barkley is unlikely to come close to the 121 targets he saw in 2018, though he should have more scoring opportunities. There is some risk with Barkley at the top of drafts due to his knee, but when on the field, we know he’ll produce.” So Tags is expecting fewer opportunities, and more scoring efficiency from a team that will be completely relying in Saquon for ANY offense they generate? And opposing defensive coordinators aren’t supposed to figure this out? Tags even wrote an article about how team scoring effects fantasy performance, and the Giants were the second worst team in scoring last season.

Mind you, I am calling out Yates and Tags on this, but most of the experts are doing the same thing here. Saquon will get plenty of opportunity, but his injury history and the fact he will be playing against a lot of 7 or 8 men in the box defenses will limit his upside drastically UNLESS Daniel Jones can play a lot better, and nobody is predicting that.

With the possible exception of Henry and maybe Aaron Jones, I would list the rest of FantasyPros top 10 consensus rbs as injury risks equal to Barkley. I would have issue with Cousins, Darnold, or Hill/Winston taking pressure off run defenses any better than Jones… You draft an rb on talent and touches. Predicting anything else except those two factors, to me, seems like overthinking.