Saquon Barkley Falls From No.1 Fantasy Spot on the Now-Atrocious Giants - Roto Street Journal
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Saquon Barkley Falls From No.1 Fantasy Spot on the Now-Atrocious Giants

Saquon Barkley’s “Individual Talent” is undeniable. His “Usage” is near-perfect under bellcow breeder Pat Shurmur. This beautiful marriage led to our prediction of Barkley in our “Top-Five Overall,” above David Johnson, to be a homerun.

But, as our Fantasy Stock Formula illustrates, fantasy success is dependent on more than just ability and opportunity. Todd Gurley proved just as much in his busty sophomore campaign, as did David Johnson’s awful 2018. Now, with Odell Beckham shipped to the Browns, Barkley’s “Surrounding Talent” score takes a massive enough hit to drop him from his No.1 overall pedestal. 

Though most sites rank Barkley No.1 overall, and expect him to improve as the Giants’ now-unquestioned offensive focal point, we feel the opposite will occur. He’s now also the unquestioned focus of defenders, which hurt him more than you’d expect in 2018.

In the four games without Beckham’s lid-lifting presence, Barkley averaged nearly 4 FPs less per game (half-PPR), largely due to slashed receiving totals despite seeing similar targets (7.5 per game). With defenses keying in on him and less room to roam, Barkley’s receptions dropped from 6.17 to 4.25, while his yardage fell from ~50 to under 30. Sure, he did experience a slight uptick in the run game (1412 rush yard pace instead of 1272), but the receiving downturn has to be noted.

Moreover, the offense as a whole projects as one of the worst in the league. Nothing is worse than watching your RB constantly sidelined as his team goes three-and-out, over and over. Or run into fully loaded boxes on every carry. Or receive minimal TD chances. All these risks are very real on this awful Giants team.

Thus, Barkley’s “Surrounding Talent” score — previously a paltry 11 points — falls to an even-worse 8. The line is still pathetic, and Golden Tate‘s presence isn’t nearly enough to take away the pressure Beckham once did. Despite near-perfect scores everywhere else, this is enough to remove Barkley from his previous throne atop my Big Board. Though Barkley’s still a no-brainer in the Top-Five overall, I’d prefer Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, who all grade only slightly less in Talent and Usage, but come with far less overall offensive warts.

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