How Christian McCaffrey & Saquon Barkley Injures Impact Fantasy Outlooks For Mike Davis & Giants RBs
Getty Images. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley
Editor’s note: Since writing the following analysis, the Giants have agreed to a one-year deal with Devonta Freeman in the wake of losing Saquon Barkley to a season-ending ACL tear.
A lot of high-profile NFL players suffered injuries in Week 2 — some of which were season-ending.
Among those injuries were two of the biggest fantasy football stars: Christian McCaffrey’s high-ankle sprain is expected to sideline him four to six weeks while Saquon Barkley’s torn ACL will end his season.
Our award-winning fantasy football rankers are weighing in on the fallout of McCaffrey’s and Barkley’s injuries and how they impact projections for Panthers running back Mike Davis and Giants RBs.
Saquon Barkley Fantasy Fallout
Chris finished as the fourth-most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker of 2019 as judged by FantasyPros.
The fact that the Giants have brought in Devonta Freeman to workout for them suggests they aren’t comfortable with a Dion Lewis/Wayne Gallman committee.
That’s likely more of an indictment on Gallman, who was a healthy scratch in Week 2.
Lewis is not a true feature back, though: He’s carried the rock 20 or more times in only three of 88 career games. The 29-year-old’s best attributes at this stage are pass protection and receiving, so it would make sense to bring in a back like Freeman, who is a liability in pass protection but can carry the ball 15 or so times per game.
The Giants face a somewhat difficult slate of front-sevens, so I wouldn’t expect whomever leads this backfield to have the same type of upside as Barkley did. Since the Giants have two pass catching tight ends they like in Evan Engram and Kaden Smith to offset the absence of Sterling Shepard, I wouldn’t expect the Giants to emphasize the position in the receiving game nearly as much as they did with Barkley.
I’m expecting a committee going forward with whoever emerges as the lead back topping out as a low-end RB2.
Christian McCaffrey Fantasy Fallout
Mike Davis may see a heavy workload in Christian McCaffrey’s absence, as Davis logged 28-of-29 non-McCaffrey tailback snaps for offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Trenton Cannon can contribute as a receiver but is more of a special teamer while Davis has a 19-0 edge in routes run on him through two games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Davis will likely be more valuable starting in Week 4, though, as he faces a stout Chargers front in Week 3. The Chargers limited Bengals RB Joe Mixon to 19/69/3.6/0 rushing and just two receiving yards on two targets in Week 1, then held Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire to 10/38/3.8/0 with only 32 receiving yards on eight targets in Week 2. In Week 4, Davis gets a Cardinals backfield that’s allowed 4.75 yards per carry and 15.9 yards per reception with three total touchdowns to running backs through two weeks.
Assuming the Panthers don’t sign another major RB, I’ll have Davis as a mid/low-end RB2 in Week 3 and a high-end RB2 in Week 4.