April 13, 2024

Saquon Barkley Signs With the Eagles: 3 Fantasy Questions

4 min read

In a flurry of free-agent signings today, Saquon Barkley's trip down I-95 may have had the most impact on fantasy football. He is leaving the New York Giants to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's answer three Fantasy Questions on Saquon Barkley.

1. Isn't he always injured? How can we expect him to return to an elite level?

Yes, Saquon Barkley has missed substantial time in his six-year NFL career. In 2020, Barkley only played in two games before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season. In 2021, he only played 13 games due to an ankle injury.

Though Barkley avoided any injuries in 2022 that caused him to miss any games, a high-ankle sprain in 2023 forced him to miss three games. Besides the 2020 season, Barkley has played in at least 13 games a sesaon.

When Barkley was healthy, he was one of the best running backs in fantasy football. He has recorded three seasons inside the Top Ten in PPR scoring and he was ranked as the #1 running back his rookie season. For fantasy managers, the question isn't, "Can he return to an elite level?" but "How quickly does he return to the fantasy elite?"

2. Will a new team be any different for Barkley's fantasy football future?

In short, no. A new team does not heal a chronically injured player. However, the Philadelphia Eagles offer Barkley some "built-in" protections that may alleviate injury concerns. First, the Eagles have a vastly superior offensive line to the Giants. While the retirement of Jason Kelce may hurt the team in the short term, this line will continue without the future Hall of Famer.

Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, and Cam Jurgens all return from PFF's #1 rated offensive line in 2023. So, the offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles is a MAJOR upgrade for any running back but could be the missing piece for a running back to return to the ELITE level.

Secondly, the Philadelphia Eagles have a receiving group that is more talented and dynamic than the Giants'. AJ Brown alone is a better wideout than Barkley has ever had, and a defense must respect him every time he lines up on the field. Also, including DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, Barkley now works within an offense that can spread teams out and keep the box clear of linebackers itching to blow up plays in the backfield.

Barkley's future looks bright, not because of his talent but because of the talent surrounding him. He no longer has to worry about being the best player on the field. For the Giants, Barkley had to be that player every game. In Philadelphia, that player could be Brown, Smith, or Hurts on any given Sunday.

Either way, Barkley can be a part of a great offense, not be the entire offense. He can maximize his touches without worrying about hitting a big play on each touch. Relieving the stress of always having to be the star will allow Barkley the chance to return to the fantasy elite.

3. Won't Jalen Hurts vulture goal line carries and reduce Barkley's ceiling?

The "Tush Push" is still a thing in the NFL, and the Eagles are the best. However, as stated above, Jason Kelce is no longer at the center of that scrum. Will the Eagles employ a similar strategy without him? I don't know. However, after watching every Eagles game Jalen Hurts has been in, I know they have never had a running back as talented as Saquon Barkley.

The better question might not be how Hurts affects Barkley, but instead, how Barkley affects Hurts. Saquon Barkley is a genuine three-down back. The Eagles spend money on something other than the running back position, which makes me believe they are preparing for a run-first offense for the upcoming season. This move indicates that there may be a shift in philosophy, including putting Jalen Hurts in fewer positions where he can get injured, which consists of the "Tush Push."

Thank you for taking the time to read my 3 Fantasy Questions on Saquon Barkley. Please follow me @JGoody77 or links by @DynastyProsFF.

Keep up with all the day's free agent signings here:

Gabe Davis

Josh Jacobs

Kirk Cousins

Tony Pollard

Tony Pollard

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