Before I hear it from you guys, I have to say I love Saquan Barkley. It doesn't even matter to me that my nemesis included a bottle of Scotch and $50 in cash to acquire the 2018 first overall pick in my Empire League's rookie draft.
I don't even have anything against Barkley personally, he seems like a perfectly fine guy. I hope he is very very successful both in 2021 and in future seasons as well.
That all being said, I'm out on Barkley at his 1st-round draft capital, even in dynasty.
Despite the fact that I know I'm going to get hate-mail over this take, I just do no believe that Barkley's fantasy services holds the prospect of any significant ROI at his current acquisition cost.
Think about what you're buying with that first-round draft capital in 2021. Are you buying his 2020 production? Nope, he spent the majority of the last season recovering from an ACL injury sustained in just 19-carries into his 2020 season. So are we buying his 2019 production then? Oh, you mean the year he was hampered by a high-ankle sprain sustained in September and ended the year 10th in fantasy points accrued? Even by points per game metrics he was a bit of a disappointment ranking 6th in the metric at his position (this is as his compared to his 1.02 ADP in 2019.)
So his 2021 1.09 ADP (according to Fantasy Pros consensus ADP) is based on perceived talent (which seems immense) as well as the production of two to three seasons ago? Really?
There's really no way to slice it, his production in 2019 was a disappointment from his stellar 2018 rookie season where he scored 294.8 PPR fantasy points on 1,307 yards, 11 rushing TDs as well as 91 receptions for an additional 721 yards on the ground and an additional 4 TDs through the air. Obviously this is league-winning first-round capital-justifying production. But that was three years ago, and I'm not criticizing Barkley at 1.01 in the 2019 drafts.
But with the retirement of Eli Manning Barkley saw a notable drop receptions (-43%) on the season due to his 26% drop in targets per game in 2019 as compared to his rookie season. Not only that, his rushing efficiency metrics all suffered in 2019 as well, with 46% fewer TDs on the year stemming from a 34% decrease in touchdowns scored per rushing attempt. This is all despite relatively constant usage in terms of rushing attempts per game, which stayed roughly even over those two season.
Look, I'm not saying Barkley isn't a special player. That's not really the question. The question is whether or not you're willing to pay first round draft capital for the fantasy services of a player that hasn't been truly elite for 3 years and is STILL recovering from a major knee injury. Dan Duggan of The Athletic expects Barkley will play Wk-1 saying, "My sense is that Barkley will be in the lineup for the opener but won’t have a full workload." He was also quoted as saying that Barkley will likely "not have as many opportunities as in the past since the team is intent on not overworking him."
It certainly seems Barkley is a fade in DFS to start the season. It also seems that you're paying full-price first-round draft capital for a guy who won't be full-speed for a quarter of the season, and after that you can expect low-end RB1 numbers, likely much closer to what we saw in 2019 than 2018.
In this economy?
Count me out.