For the running back position, there aren’t many superstars in the free-agent market, but there are a few interesting names…no more than Saquon Barkley. After two injury-plagued seasons, the superstar-back stayed healthy in 2022, ranking fifth in fantasy points with 284 (17.6 PPG).
The most likely scenario is Barkley staying with the Giants, whether via a new contract or franchise tag, and most of us would agree it’s among his best (or maybe the best) landing sites. But where else would Barkley retain the greatest fantasy value if he didn’t stay with the G-Men? This has nothing to do with salary caps, money, etc., but rather with his overall fantasy appeal.
Here are five teams that might have a need for running backs and would be interesting places for Barkley to land next season. Let’s start this fun exercise in Buffalo.
Devin Singletary is set to be a free agent, and James Cook isn’t cut out to be a real leading man. So what if the Bills went all in and got Barkley as the new lead runner? He would lose some opportunities in the red zone against Josh Allen, but Barkley would also be on a far more balanced offense where defense couldn’t stop him. Barkley would remain a double threat in an explosive offense.
Kansas City chiefs
The Chiefs appear to be done with the injury-prone and inconsistent Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Jerick McKinnon is slated to become a free agent. With JuJu Smith-Schuster also heading towards a free hand, Kansas City could be looking for a pass-catching, versatile defender. Imagine putting Barkley in the same backfield as Patrick Mahomes? This would be a fantasy manager’s dream!
This would absolutely kill New York Giants fans, but the Eagles may be in the market for a running back with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott slated as free agents. Their offense is already packed with the likes of Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, and with Barkley in the team’s backfield, things would go nuclear. He would also stay in the top five in fantasy land.
The Dolphins could have a gaping hole in the backfield this offseason, with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Salvon Ahmed (RFA) and Myles Gaskin all slated as free agents. With a lot of need for position, Miami could decide to go all-in and give Barkley a big boost. Coach Mike McDaniel’s offense was very fantasy friendly and it would be crazy to add Barkley to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
The Bears are utilizing a run-based offense with a rising young quarterback in Justin Fields, but the team needs playmakers around him. With veteran David Montgomery going freehand, could Chicago make a run against Barkley as a centerpiece of its offense? With no true alpha wideouts on the list, he would see a lot of touching as both a runner and pass catcher in this scenario.
Michael Fabiano is award-winning fantasy football analyst on sports illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all of his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can continue to follow Michael Twitter, Facebook, youtubeand Instagram for your breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business to help you win a fantasy championship!