Fantasy Court: The Case Against Saquon Barkley in 2022
In the Fantasy Court Series, two of the writers for The Fantasy Footballers choose sides on a player and present their argument to help you decide whether or not you should be drafting these players at their average draft position (ADP). It’s important to acknowledge that draft cost is the most important factor when it comes to loving or hating a fantasy player come draft day. Today’s case is all about Saquon Barkley, who has an ADP of 2.10 as of this writing. I love Saquon as a talent in the NFL, but I am not drafting him in any leagues at his current fantasy football price tag. Conversely, you can read Aaron Larson’s The Case for Saquon Barkley for the counterargument.
Saquon is entering his 5th season, but it feels like forever ago that he was an elite RB. He’s had an injury-riddled career but appears to be fully healthy entering 2022. Saquon was drafted as the second overall pick by the New York Giants in 2018 – which was a really weird pick…but regardless, he has the profile of an elite back. That being said, he hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since he was a rookie. Beyond that, the Giants are a bad team…and I believe the Giants are going to limit Saquon’s workload – like the vast majority of teams in today’s NFL.
Saquon is being overdrafted, and I want nothing to do with him in 2022! I’d much rather have Leonard Fournette BY A BILLION, who’s going five picks later (on average). Avoid Saquon in 2022…and thank me later.
Saquon was the new hotness in 2018 when he put up an impressive 21.3 fantasy points per game. I was all aboard the Saquon train half a decade ago like everyone else. But times have changed…he’s not the same player he used to be. Let’s take a look at Saquon’s performance in recent years. Remember: keep it simple, stupid!
In 2018, Saquon saw 22 touches per game and averaged 21.3 fantasy points per game. Beyond the high usage, he was very efficient with touches – averaging 0.97 fantasy points per touch.
In 2021, Saquon saw 15.6 touches per game and averaged 9.9 fantasy points per game. This equates to 0.63 fantasy points per touch, which ranked 47th among the top-50 RBs last season. For reference, Saquon’s efficiency in 2020 was 0.50 fantasy points per touch. It’s been three years since he’s been a productive running back. Your honor, I’m not even touching upon any injury concerns!
Saquon IS NOT THAT GUY, PAL. He used to be, but we’re five seasons into his career and things have changed. I legitimately wish the best for Saquon. Seems like a great dude, who helped me win a ship in 2018, and has a cool name – which means a lot in my book. But, drafting him is a big mistake in 2022.
Expectations for 2021
I expect Saquon to be a low-end RB2 in 2022. If you took his average efficiency over the past two seasons and applied it to his career average number of touches (212)…you get 7.5 fantasy points per game. I mean even if you take his 0.63 fantasy points per touch from last year and apply that to the largest workload he’s seen (261 touches in 2018), you still only get 10.3 fantasy points per game. While Saquon’s efficiency might increase a bit, I don’t expect him to get a huge workload. Why would the Giants give him Jonathan Taylor-level touches when he keeps getting injured? I could see a world where Saquon sees fewer touches at an increased efficiency…but even still, I’m not interested.
Saquon is three years removed from being a productive RB when on the field. AND his injury history is concerning. The Giants are still a pretty bad team, and I expect them to be pretty poor in points scored this season compared to other teams. I can’t see a world where Saquon provides a good return on investment (ROI) at pick 2.10, when you can get other difference makers like Deebo Samuel, Aaron Jones, Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, etc.
Saquon Barkley is overrated in 2022. I’d be happy to draft him if he fell to the fourth round…but he’s currently valued at pick 2.10. GROSS. Avoid Saquon this season if you want to win a championship, mark my words!