The Rookie Check-In series will be used as an opportunity to get a real-time look at rookies - their production, value, and how they’ve looked on-field. For the first article, I figured I’d start at the top. Barkley has been the number one rookie asset for over a year now and people have sold their children to get him on their dynasty teams. Five weeks into the season, has he been worth it? How has he looked? Let’s see how Barkley has treated his owners thus far.

Production/PPR Finishes

Rush Att
Rush Yds
Rec. Yards
Total TDs
PPR Pts (Rank)
20.8 (11)
24.8 (5)
22.7 (5)
22 (13)
28.9 (4)

Barkley’s rushing numbers have been less-than-stellar, but that hasn’t mattered. Frankly, it’s what we should have been expecting. With Manning unable and/or unwilling to throw downfield, Barkley has been the perfect outlet. He’s currently second on the Giants in targets (39), second in catches (31), and third in yards (274). Amongst running backs, he ranks fourth in targets and third in both catches and yards. The Giants figure to be trailing in the majority of their games going forward, facing just four teams in the bottom half of defensive efficiency (per Warren Sharp) and struggling on both sides of the ball, which bodes well for his fantasy production. I believe the rushing yards will eventually come - just not consistently this year.

Current Value

Barkley has been cemented as the 1.01 rookie pick for quite some time. Looking at DLF startup ADP beginning in May, Barkley hasn’t been listed any lower than seventh (September); according to October’s data, he’s coming off the board at the six spot. 

Let’s look at some trades that have taken place within the past month from DLF’s Trade Finder.

-Saquon for Alvin Kamara + 2020 2nd
-Saquon for Amari Cooper + Stefon Diggs + LeSean McCoy

-Saquon + Dante Pettis for DeAndre Hopkins + T.J. Yeldon

-Saquon + Dallas Goedert for Marquez Valdes-Scantling + Ian Thomas + FIVE ‘19 1sts
-Saquon + Jaron Brown for Dalvin Cook + Corey Davis

-Saquon for Leonard Fournette + Yeldon + '19 1st + '19 2nd

Bottom line: if you’re thinking about making an offer for Barkley, you had better come strong!

Game Tape

Let’s finish out the article by putting a cherry on top and take a look at a few plays.

Unfortunately, this is what a lot of Barkley’s runs look like. The right guard can’t get his body across the defensive lineman’s, he gets tossed aside, and the play is over before it begins. Until the Giants add more talent to their offensive line, we’ll be relying on catches or chunk rush yardage for his fantasy production. The fact Barkley is able to evade a few would-be tacklers, however, gives us hope that those chunk plays will come.

One of the chinks in Barkley’s prospect armor was that he tried doing too much; bouncing too many of his runs outside looking for the splash play. Here, he does a good job keeping his head up and feet active, using explosive cuts and short area quickness to turn nothing into a four yard gain.

Here’s why we love Barkley. He’s lined up out wide at the bottom of the screen against a linebacker. Just from watching the play you would think he was a true wide receiver. If Manning has better placement on this throw, it’s an easy six. Regardless, Barkley makes a nice adjustment, goes up and gets the ball.

All in all, if you “earned” Barkley or paid the premium price via trade, you have to love what you’ve gotten so far. If you packaged several picks to move up in the draft, you’re feeling even better as the majority of this rookie class has disappointed for one reason or another. The chances of acquiring Barkley during the season are slim, but if the opportunity presents itself, I’d be taking a hard look at my roster to see if I had the necessary pieces to get a deal done. 

Hit me up on Twitter if you have a rookie you’d like to see me get to next!