The Saquon Barkley hype train seems to be in full motion, and I’ve seen people dreaming of him to become a fantasy RB1 once more. Maybe even a top 3 RB.
Not gonna happen.
Let’s look at the rushing production first:
2021 RB#1: Jonathan Taylor
332 touches for 1,811 yards, 18 TDs
2021 RB#3: Joe Mixon
237 touches for 1,168 yards, 8 TDs
2021 Giants team (!) volume:
419 rush attempts for 1,688 yards, 8 TDs
JT and Mixon had a volume share of around 70% in their teams. That was enough to produce almost as much volume as the entire Giants rushing offense. Even more, in JT’s case.
But Saquon has passing upside, like 2021 RB#2 Austin Ekeler, right?
Ekeler saw 94 targets that he turned into 70 catches for 647 yards and 8 TDs. That was a 15% share in the passing game, which is a lot for an RB.
Saquon can easily get 15% of the targets in New York. It’s actually what I projected for him.
But the 2021 Chargers were the 2nd best passing offense. They threw for 5,021 yards and 38 TDs. The Giants threw for 3,196 and 15 TDs.
Had Ekeler been a member of the 2021 Giants and had received the exact same volume shares there as he did in Los Angeles, he’d have finished the season outside of the RB1 range in fantasy.
Brian Daboll is an excellent coach, and the Giants are likely to improve under him.
But they won’t all of a sudden become the new Colts in terms of rushing, and the new Chargers in terms of passing.
And that’s why Saquon is no elite RB prospect in 2022. He’s a rock solid fantasy RB2 with low-end RB1 upside and a pretty safe floor, thanks to the lack of competition on the roster. If he stays healthy, maybe he can just barely sneak into the top 10. But that’s his ceiling.
Ignore the hype train. Don’t overdraft him.