For the most part, there's a strong consensus at CBS that you should not start Saquon Barkley in Week 2. He had a terrible Week 1 matchup, he only played 48% of the snaps four days ago, and his team has one of the lowest implied point totals of Week 2.
I'm sitting Barkley on Thursday night for Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt, and a host of other running backs. And there's really very little debate about that from anyone.
No, the debate around Barkley is whether he's currently a buy low or a sell high. And it's easy to make the case for both sides.
Barkley is a buy low if you believe he still has top-five upside and you can trade a player who was drafted outside of the top 30 for him. A Twitter poll I ran on Wednesday suggests a majority of people prefer D'Andre Swift rest of season to Barkley. That qualifies as a buy low, at least for now.
My only problem with buying low this week is that I would expect the price will drop if he struggles as we all expect on Thursday night against Washington. And that's where the thought of a sell-high comes in.
In Week 1 the Giants offense looked every bit as miserable as we projected. I saw no signs that Barkley has regained 100% of his athleticism. I saw no signs that Jason Garrett has evolved as a playcaller. I saw no signs that Daniel Jones has improved as a quarterback. If, like me, you believe Barkley's upside this year is more like top 10 than top five, this may be the last time you could get someone like Swift for him.
This is the point where I'd normally tell you what I'm doing. I can only speak to one side of the equation, because I didn't draft Barkley in any of my 25 leagues. I'm also not making any buy-low offers for him before Week 3. And assuming Thursday night goes as poorly as we expect, I won't be offering anyone as good as Swift next week.
Now let's get to the rest of the Week 2 RB Preview:
Week 2 RB Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 2 at this time. Here's what it means:
SF San Francisco • #31
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Elijah Mitchell is a must-start running back. Hopefully Trey Sermon gets to play as well.
Numbers to know
- 29 - Carries for Joe Mixon in Week 1. That was the second highest mark of his career. If he stays healthy, he's going to be a top six running back in Fantasy this year.
- 25 - Touches for Damien Harris in Week 1. He looks like a must-start running back in all formats, especially if he can catch a couple of passes each week.
- 36 - Combined touches for D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in Week 1. Everything we'd hoped for with their usage was true for at least one week.
- 22.9% - Target share for Nyheim Hines, which led the Colts in Week 1. Jonathan Taylor was second on the team at 20%.
- 0 - Targets for Austin Ekeler in Week 1. It's nothing to panic about now, but it's definitely worth watching in Week 2.
- 100% - Najee Harris played all of the snaps for the Steelers offense. Now we just need to work on that efficiency.
- 48% - Snap share for Saquon Barkley in Week 1. That makes him tough to trust in a short week against a good Washington defense.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
Tony Jones RB
NO New Orleans • #21
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Jones fared well in his first game as the No. 2 back behind Alvin Kamara, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and catching his only target. He's a low-end flex as long as Kamara stays healthy, but he'd have week-winning upside any time Kamara misses.
PHI Philadelphia • #14
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Like Jones, I think Gainwell can be a deep PPR flex right now. If anything, he may have a bigger role in the passing game if Miles Sanders' preseason drops come back.
BAL Baltimore • #34
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
We have no clue who is going to lead the Baltimore backfield in touches Week 2 or rest of season. Ty'Son Williams has the most burst, but he made way too many mistakes on Monday against the Raiders. Freeman was promoted to the active roster ahead of Le'Veon Bell, so he could get touches as soon as Sunday night. I would like to make sure all Baltimore backs are rostered in my leagues.
TEN Tennessee • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
If you have IR spots in your league, Evans is even easier to stash. He should be available early in the year and I still like him as the most likely beneficiary if Derrick Henry suffers an injury,
SEA Seattle • #31
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Dallas should be the backup to Chris Carson now that Rashaad Penny is injured again.
Jeff Wilson RB
SF San Francisco • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
There's a week coming when Jeff Wilson leads this backfield again. Like Evans, he's much easier to stash in leagues where you have an IR slot.
SF San Francisco • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Mitchell should top point-per-dollar rankings on just about every site this week. It's a tougher call in tournaments where roster rate matters, but I'd have Mitchell in 100% of my cash game lineups.
TB Tampa Bay • #7
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Fournette is the lead back on a huge favorite at home. That generally makes someone a popular play, but at just $100 more than Mitchell on FanDuel, I'd expect he'll be a bit more contrarian than he should be. There's 20-touch, multiple score potential in a fantastic matchup. Bruce Arians saying Ronald Jones is starting will impact Fournette's roster rate, but may not tell us anything about who gets the most touches.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 2 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that has out-performed experts big-time.