2018 Rookie Preview: Saquon Barkley

Average Joe Nation, we are here to help set you apart from your league so you can reign over them as the champ so trust me when I tell you one of the keys to fantasy football...don’t overreact. Or R-E-L-A-X, as our good friend, Mr. Rodgers, would say. It is easy to fall into the trap and get sucked into the hype of rookie fever, but remember that all good things in moderation. With that being said, let’s take a look at one of this year’s, or even this decade’s, most exciting rookie prospects, Saquon Barkley (RB - Penn State).

 

There is no doubt that Barkley is the complete package and a true three-down back in today’s game. Barkley had a stellar combine performance that some described as otherworldly posting numbers like 29 reps (more than Joe Thomas), 41” vertical jump (higher than Julio Jones), and a solid 4.40 40-yard-dash time (faster than Devin Hester). He was already considered the top RB prospect of his class and now is being considered a lock for a Top-5 pick in this year’s draft. I’ve even heard some other analysts comparing him to David Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and the great Barry Sanders. There is no doubt that he will be an asset to the team that drafts him and will walk into a starting role wherever he goes. Aye, there’s the rub. For in that hype sleep, what teams may come?

 

Personally, I thought Barkley going to the Browns at the 1.01 was sure thing. That was at least until the Browns decided to sign Carlos Hyde (insert sigh of relief from Duke Johnson dynasty owners and simultaneous groan from Carlos Hyde owners). Now, I have my doubts. I would love to have seen the 49ers trade up for Barkley, but their heavy investment in Jerrick McKinnon dashed that hope as well. The best landing spot I see for Barkley now is the Colts and possibly the Giants. It’s very plausible that the Browns will skip over Barkley at 1.01 and the Giants draft him at 1.02, which wouldn’t be terrible with the Nate Solder signing, or my preference would be the Colts drafting him at 1.03. The Colts are in need of a RB with Frank Gore being released and Marlon Mack would be the perfect backup to have behind Barkley. He’d walk into a starting, workhorse role on a Colts team that should see the return of Andrew Luck and an offensive line that ranked 25th in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus, but was also plagued by injuries. The Colts have been quiet this free agency period and seem to be focusing on their draft strategies so it’ll be interesting to see how the draft unfolds for Barkley.

 

Ultimately, this all comes down to the fantasy implications and I believe that Barkley can be a strong RB2 with high-RB1 upside if he gets drafted by the right team. I personally have him ranked in that fringe-RB1/RB2 range and can see him getting drafted in the late-2nd, early-3rd round of redraft leagues. Obviously, Barkley is the 1.01 choice in Dynasty drafts. However, in dynasty startups, I would put him in the late-1st, early-2nd round. As long as he can stay healthy and he gets the work, Barkley will beast in the NFL and be the next great RB in the game.

 

UPDATE: With the Colts trading back to the Jets, Saquon's prime landing spot seems to be the Buccaneers which could prove to be a fantasy gold mine.

 

If you have any questions or want any advice then feel free to hit me up on Twitter ( @JEStoneTH8FF ). Also, be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the pod wherever you listen!

 

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