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2023 Fantasy Football Player Profile: Saquon Barkley has one of the safest floors among running backs

2KB9DP1 New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 27, 2019. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto)

  • Saquon Barkley doesn’t hold out: Barkley and the New York Giants were able to reach a deal before training camp, ensuring he would be with the team and won't miss any games due to the contract dispute.
  • Barkley has a high floor: Barkley gained the fourth-most carries and played well doing so. He should remain one of the leaders in rushing attempts and yards this season.
  • His play has been questionable on passing plays: Barkley received more offensive snaps than any other running back but wasn’t effective as a receiver. His play could improve, or he could lose playing time on third downs.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The fantasy football outlook series takes an in-depth look at a single player’s fantasy outlook for the 2023 season. For help on draft strategy, rankings or for more details about other players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For rankings with better filtering along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

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Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 26

Saquon Barkley‘s player outlook

Barkley put together his best season in 2022 since his rookie year.

  • He was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft and burst onto the scene with an RB1 overall finish in his rookie season.
  • Barkley wasn’t as effective in his second season, with significantly less work in the passing game and a lower yards per carry average in addition to his touchdown total being nearly cut in half.
  • He tore his ACL and MCL early in the 2020 season. He was able to play again in 2021, but he wasn’t playing at 100%.
  • He was one of the best running backs last season, averaging 82 rushing yards per game and 0.625 rushing touchdowns per game, ranking fourth and eighth among running backs, respectively. 
  • Throughout his career, he’s been among the best at breaking away for long runs and that continued last season. He averaged 1.125 carries of 15 or more yards per game last year, which ranked third out of 83 running backs with at least 10 games.
  • The big question mark around Barkley for 2023 is how well he will play as a receiver.
  • His rookie season was one of the better we’ve seen out of a running back in the passing game. His 86.3 PFF receiving grade that season was ninth among running back seasons over the last five years.
  • He ran the fifth-most routes for a running back last season at 379, but his 55.1 PFF receiving grade was sixth-worst among those with at least 250 routes.
  • Part of the low grade was a league-leading seven drops, which are unlikely to continue, but he also wasn’t making as many big plays as you would expect given his above-average 19.4% targets per route run.
  • If Barkley can return to his rookie form in the passing game, he has a shot at being the overall RB1, but the odds of that aren’t great.


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