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2018 NFL Draft fantasy profiles: RB Saquon Barkley

Which NFL franchise can unlock a generational talent’s incredible fantasy potential?

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley enters the 2018 NFL as not only the best running back in the class, but as potentially the best back in a generation. His rare combination of size and speed, plus his ability to impact the game as a runner, receiver and returner means we could be witnessing greatness from Week 1.

Barkley’s play in college for Penn State jumps off the screen. He possesses incredible stop/start quickness and is able to see a gap, make a savage cut and take off. A true home-run hitter, Barkley takes some knocks for the number of negative plays he amasses but that’s part of what makes him special as he is looking to break the big play every time he touches the ball. In three years he amassed over 5,000 yards from scrimmage, with his contribution in the passing game growing every season.

Known as a relentless worker both on and off the field, there are zero character concerns about Barkley and he is raved about by coaches, players and fans alike. He garners comparisons to Barry Sanders and is considered a superior prospect to Ezekiel Elliot from two years ago who went on to win the rushing title as a rookie.

In short, Barkley is about a certain a can’t miss pick as we’ve seen in a decade and wherever he is taken, that team is upgrading their offense immediately and will not regret taking him.

Barkley’s College Stats

Year Games Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
Year Games Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
2017 13 217 1271 5.9 18 54 632 11.7 3
2016 14 272 1496 5.5 18 28 402 14.4 4
2015 11 182 1076 5.9 7 20 161 8.1 1

Best Fantasy Fits

Let’s be honest, Barkley will be a fantasy star wherever he lands and most likely a first round fantasy pick in 2018. There’s no way he’s getting beyond pick 7 where the Bucs will sprint to hand in the card if he gets there so though he would fit anywhere, his best fits in this instance are all in the top 7 picks.

  • New York Giants: This would be all the fun. If the Giants decide to go all in on Eli for one last rodeo, what better way to support him than with Saquon Barkley. On a team that is desperately seeking a running game to compliment their star-studded receiving corp, Saquon Barkley could be the unlocker to the Giants turning around a lost 2017 season. Barkley would benefit from the threat posed by the passing offense, and the passing offense benefits from Barkley’s presence as an explosive runner. Plus who doesn’t want to see Barkley and Beckham challenge Brown and Bell for the best receiver/running back tandem in the NFL?
  • Indianapolis Colts: Assuming Andrew Luck returns to health in 2018, he will be in desperate need of a quality back to support his transition back into the team. Barkley would be the workhorse of the Colts’ offense and I can see him with around 350 touches as a rookie with the Colts, a number guaranteed to see him as a top-3 fantasy back in year 1.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Another frisky landing spot on an offense crying out for a quality back. With the roller coaster that was the Doug Martin experience now over, Barkley would be the catalyst to Jameis Winston taking the next step as a passer. Just having a receiving back of Barkley’s quality takes pressure off Winston and it gives him a safety valve in the passing game which should help him be more careful with the football. For Barkley, the situation is similar to the Giants, where a plethora of receiving options means favorable coverages that Barkley can exploit as a runner, and he will also get his share in the passing game.

Poll

Which team would make Saquon Barkley a first round pick for you in fantasy?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Giants
    (18 votes)
  • 13%
    Colts
    (8 votes)
  • 15%
    Buccaneers
    (9 votes)
  • 11%
    Browns
    (7 votes)
  • 30%
    He’s gonna be a first round pick no matter what
    (18 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now