Fantasy Football Blog

Saquon Barkley quickly becomes NFL fantasy royalty

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) will probably be one of the top two NFL fantasy picks next season.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) will probably be one of the top two NFL fantasy picks next season. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

It didn’t take long for rookie Saquon Barkley (NY Giants) to join the ranks of the fantasy elite and at this point he will likely challenge Todd Gurley for the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 fantasy drafts. Barkley is on pace to finish the season with 107 receptions, 2,163 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.

That pace should continue this week against a Falcons defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Atlanta has allowed at least 20 fantasy points to a running back in every game this season, while Barkley has topped at least 20 fantasy points in every game.

This also could be a week where Eli Manning (NY Giants) outperforms. Manning hasn’t been that useful (No. 22 fantasy quarterback on the season) though Atlanta allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including averaging 2.7 passing touchdowns per game allowed.

On the other side of the Giants-Falcons game, Devonta Freeman has been placed on injured reserve, opening up an opportunity for both Tevin Coleman (Atlanta) and Ito Smith (Atlanta). Coleman will likely start, though Smith could be just as attractive from a fantasy perspective -- Smith out-touched Coleman 13-11 last week and Smith has seven rushing attempts inside the red zone over the past three weeks versus just two attempts for Coleman.

Other Play ‘Em

Kirk Cousins (Minnesota) gets a favorable match-up against a Jets defense that has allowed 341 yards passing over its past three games (second-most).

Opportunities should be there for Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago) against a Patriots defense allowing 2.5 passing touchdowns per game while Trubisky has had back-to-back games with 300-plus passing yards along with nine passing touchdowns.

Joe Mixon (Cincinnati) is a strong play this week against a Kansas City defense that has allowed six rushing touchdowns over its past three games and the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Kenyan Drake (Miami) had a rough overtime fumble at the goal line last week, but the Dolphins came back to him and they won the game. This is a good spot for Drake to continue his overall momentum (he’s averaged 96.5 yards over his past two weeks with 11 receptions) against a Detroit defense allowing 146 rushing yards per game (third most).

Look for Jarvis Landry (Cleveland) to break out of a mini-slump this week against a Tampa defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

John Brown (Baltimore) had just two receptions last week but he should return to form this week against a Saints defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Marquise Goodwin (San Francisco) re-found his groove last week with two touchdowns and he should keep it going against a Rams defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the past three weeks.

Josh Gordon’s (New England) targets have gone up from two to four to nine over the past three games and this week he goes against a Bears’ defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

In general, you can’t have too many pieces of the Rams offense and that makes receiver Josh Reynolds a sleeper option this week as he will join the starting unit with Cooper Kupp (knee) already ruled out.

David Njoku (Cleveland) has been heating up of late with five or more receptions in three straight games and this week gets a Tampa defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Sit ‘Em

With a reasonable alternative, Drew Brees (New Orleans) could be benched this week on the road out of the dome and against a Ravens defense allowing a league-low 12.8 points per game and just 188 yards passing per game (second-lowest).

Alex Collins (Baltimore) draws the toughest run defense in the league statistically this week, allowing just 71 rushing yards per game.

Will Fuller (Houston) has been cold of late with just four total receptions and 48 yards in his past two games combined. Another underwhelming game seems in the works against a Jacksonville defense allowing the fewest pass plays (13) of more than 20 yards.

Alan Satterlee is in his sixth year of writing about fantasy football for The Charlotte Observer. Find him on Twitter at @Speedkills_DFW

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