Is Saquon Barkley playing this week? Latest on his injury heading into Week 1

The New York Giants could be without star running back Saquon Barkley on Sunday if the team feels he’s not completely back from last season’s injury. New York’s offense is already without Pro Bowl tight end Evan Engram for their Week 1 contest against the Denver Broncos. Given the uncertainty, what is the latest on Barkley’s injury, and what does his fantasy football impact look like for Week 1?

Is Saquon Barkley playing this week?

Losing Barkley would be a massive loss, but it wouldn’t be an unusual sight for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. He has called more games without the former Penn State standout.

The Giants are holding Barkley’s status close to the vest, calling it a game-time decision for Sunday as he continues to rehab from the 2020 injury. Given when the injury occurred and how the normal ACL tear timeline works, Barkley should be back and ready to rock.

However, Barkley isn’t your average NFL running back, so if the Giants are trying to take this incredibly slow, that isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Barkley is 230 pounds but changes direction with the violence of a 180-pound scatback. As we’ve seen in Baltimore this week, turf and cleats are too good for the knee to handle.

Every indication is that Barkley will see the field on Sunday, even with the questionable status.

Injury history

Barkley doesn’t have a pervasive injury history, but he’s now missed games in two straight years.

Barkley suffered an injury to his ankle in Daniel Jones’ first-ever start with the Giants in 2019. He missed three weeks, but his overall effectiveness was limited throughout the rest of the season. For a high-ankle sprain, three weeks is not a long time to recover. This should provide hope that future injuries won’t last too long to recover from.

The big injury happened last season, however, in Week 2. Barkley was coming off his worst career performance behind a pathetic offensive line. For the first time in his career, he said he was playing for the wrong reasons.

Barkley was playing to prove people wrong instead of the love for the game. He tore his ACL and missed the last 14 games of the season and most of the 2021 offseason. However, videos of his rehab provided hope he’d be ready for Week 1.

Saquon Barkley’s fantasy outlook and analysis for Week 1

The great news is that Barkley will be active for Week 1. The not-so-great news is that the dynamic running back could play a limited number of snaps and have his workload managed. However, the potential for a solid fantasy performance is there. Barkley has averaged 22.6 opportunities, 115 total yards, and 21 PPR fantasy points per game in his career.

It would be prudent to temper your expectations for Barkley this week against the Broncos. New York’s offensive line is at a disadvantage against the Broncos’ defensive line. Barkley could struggle to accumulate fantasy points in this matchup. He’s more of a high-end RB2 against the Broncos this week.

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