Draft day is almost here. Mock drafts are everywhere and fans are hoping and praying that their team drafts the player they want. The next question is, is that player a fit from a fantasy football perspective? One player that is highly coveted is running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Any NFL team that drafts him will surely be giddy, but fantasy team owners looking to draft him should have a few places in mind for him to land that will maximize his point output.
Saquon Barkley Best Fantasy Fits
The stars are already looking like they might align perfectly to make this happen. The Indianapolis Colts own the sixth pick in the 2018 draft, and just let old reliable Frank Gore walk in free agency. Andrew Luck will finally be back in the lineup after missing a full season of NFL action. It will undoubtedly take him some time to shake the rust off, and Barkley could alleviate a lot of pressure on him.
The Colts have not had a top-tier running back since they took Edgerrin James in the first round of the 1999 draft. James went on to win NFL offensive rookie of the year, and had over 1,500 rushing yards in both the 2004 and 2005 season. With Peyton Manning on the team during his tenure, teams were unable to stack the box as much as they would have if there would have been a different quarterback under center.
This will be a similar situation for Barkley in Indianapolis. Luck hasn’t been fully healthy for a few years, but when he is on the field, he can play. It will be a pick your poison type of situation. Stack the box to stop Barkley, Luck will go deep. Stop the deep ball, Barkley will run right through a thin defensive front. Even if teams do load up to stop the run, Barkley still has the skills to make them look silly.
If Barkley was able to choose his NFL team, his personal favorite might be the Colts, as he will likely get a ton of carries early on in the season, and should even be a big part of the passing game. With the Colts, he is sure to rack up plenty of fantasy points.
More of a Long Shot
Another great spot for Barkley to land would be with the New York Giants. The Giants are another team that has not really had a feature back in a long time. With Eli Manning in the twilight of his career, they could use a back like Barkley more than ever to complement their signal caller. The Giants own the number two pick, and have a tough choice to make. They could go after Barkley, but they are more likely to go after Manning’s successor instead.
If they do decide to go after Barkley, the results would probably be similar to what the Denver Broncos did for John Elway in his final years. In 1995, they drafted Terrell Davis to play with an aging Elway. In his rookie year, Davis racked up 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns before being lost for the season in Week 15. Davis also added 49 catches for 367 yards and a touchdown. Barkley would easily eclipse these numbers if he played in all 16 games, especially in terms of receiving.
The Giants would also do well to remember how the team looked during their last Super Bowl. Most will remember their great defense, or the infamous David Tyree and Mario Manningham catches. What they should remember, however, was that they also had a punishing ground game in Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants have been unable to consistently get their ground game going since they left. Barkley would do this for them, and amass tons of fantasy points in the process.
In The Event of a Slide
If Barkley is still on the board at number seven, there is no way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass him up. Last season, Tampa Bay was expected to take a big step forward along with quarterback Jameis Winston. They added DeSean Jackson to go along with Mike Evans, and drafted O.J. Howard to pair with Cameron Brate. Running back Doug Martin was supposed to give the team balance, but he was inconsistent, and the Bucs moved on from him this off-season.
Barkley would fit right in with the Buccaneers offense and give them a nice three-down running back that even Martin at his best never was. Defenses would have to stay honest with Barkley in the backfield, or risk getting the top taken off them by Evans or Howard. Barkley would also be an excellent safety valve for Winston as a receiver out of the backfield.
Winston has issues with decision making and interceptions, and his coaches will probably scheme Barkley as a dump off option on almost every play. From there, he can make magic happen and use his superior elusiveness on the open field. Barkley will get plenty of touches if drafted by the Bucs, as the teams goes from a pass first to a run first team.
Embed from Getty Images