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Fantasy ramifications of Saquon Barkley’s knee injury

Saquon Barkley’s injury is a huge blow to the Giants offense. How will his absence play out for fantasy football?

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is helped off of the field after suffering an injury during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Giants announced Barkley has suffered a torn ACL. That will officially end his season.

The consensus No. 2 fantasy football player in 2020 is likely done for the season in Week 2. If you drafted Saquon Barkley, you are scrambling to fill the void after he went down with an apparent ACL tear, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. An awful injury for the dynamic back, but plenty of players have returned from this injury and thankfully he suffered it early in the season. He should be back and ready to start the 2021 season.

Daniel Jones will miss Barkley, but I’d expect playing without him will help Jones in the long run, as he’ll need to find his receivers downfield more often. That should help Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram see more work.

As for who will replace Barkley, it looks to be Dion Lewis. Lewis rushed 10 times for 20 yards and caught 4-of-5 targets for 26 yards against a good Bears defensive line. We will also see Wayne Gallman, but I’d expect Lewis to be the main back as the team will lean on Jones and the passing game. Lewis will be a much more useful fantasy player in PPR leagues than non-PPR.

We can’t expect too much from their running game, as the Giants’ schedule isn’t the easiest. Coming up, they face the 49ers, Rams, Cowboys, Washington, Eagles, Buccaneers, Washington, and Eagles again.

Overall this is a blow to the Giants offense and will hurt their scoring opportunities, which isn’t good for fantasy. The team also lost Sterling Shepard in this game, but there hasn’t been an update on his toe injury. Shepard is the Barkley of the receiving group. His presence helps this offense move, as he’s a key third-down target for Jones. If the team also loses Shepard for an extended period, they are really going to be in a bad way, as if they aren’t already.