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How fantasy football owners should handle Saquon Barkley's season-ending injury

For The Win logo For The Win 9/21/2020 Charles Curtis
a group of people playing football on a field © Provided by For The Win

It’s exactly what everyone feared about Saquon Barkley after he went down clutching his knee in the New York Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears: the team reports it’s a torn ACL, which will end the star running back’s season.

For fantasy football owners, it’s the loss of one of the highest-picked players in drafts this year, and that means there will be a scramble to find replacements on the bench and waiver wire (especially in a week with so many other injuries).

So let’s break down the running back situation with the Giants after Barkley’s injury left them without one of the game’s best runners.

Dion Lewis

After Barkley went down in Week 2, it was the veteran Lewis who got the carries the rest of the way, with 10 for 20 yards (bleh, although it was against a stout Bears defense) and a touchdown. He did catch 4-of-5 targets for 36 yards, which means that if the Giants don’t sign a free agent to replace Barkley, he’s probably the free agent who gets the first look off the wire. But I’m really nervous about that idea because …

Devonta Freeman

It’s strange to bake in an unsigned player into a waiver wire strategy, but it makes the most sense with Freeman, the former Falcons back looking for a job to prove he’s still a full-time starter in the NFL. If you miss out on Lewis, it’s a good idea to roll the dice on Freeman and see if he signs by the middle of the week.

Wayne Gallman

He didn’t play on Sunday as a scratch. But remember, he was pretty good in that one game against the Washington Football Team in 2019 (18 carries, 63 yards, two touchdowns, six catches for 55 yards). So it’s possible that he grabs more of the rushing pie if the Giants don’t sign Freeman or someone else.

In other words, from a fantasy perspective, it’s extremely messy with a lot of uncertainty that may clear up only when we see who plays against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. If you absolutely must put in a bid, it’s probably Lewis, Freeman and Gallman a distant third. But if you use free agent auction bidding, I wouldn’t break the bank on any of them.

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