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Fantasy implications of Giants signing RB Gary Brightwell, Deon Jackson out of NFL Draft

The New York Giants have signed running backs Gary Brightwell and Deon Jackson to close out the 2021 NFL Draft. Will either be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

Running back Gary Brightwell #0 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half of the PAC-12 football game at Arizona Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The New York Giants signed RB Gary Brightwell in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and RB Deon Jackson as a UDFA following the 2021 NFL Draft. They’ll join a depth chart that includes star running back Saquon Barkley and backup Devontae Booker.

Brightwell had a solid sophomore season with 525 rushing yards and three scores on 91 carries, but only tallied 390 rushing yards in each of the next two seasons. Jackson finished his senior season at Duke with 682 rushing yards and five scores on 161 carries, but that paled in comparison to the 847 rushing yards and seven scores he totaled on 161 carries as a sophomore.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

There’s no telling what Barkley will look like one season removed from an ACL tear when the season resumes, so carries will likely be up for grabs early in the season. Wayne Gallman flourished for the Giants last season before leaving to join the San Francisco 49ers, but former Las Vegas Raiders backup Devontae Booker is the favorite to absorb Gallman’s touches. Brightwell has a chance to contribute as a change-of-pace back if Barkley can’t go in Week 1, but Jackson’s ball security issues make him less likely to get in the mix early.

Long-term

New York has a ton invested in Barkley, so it’s unlikely that Brightwell or Jackson will be very involved once the star is back at 100%. He’s a versatile, three-down back at his best that will be relieved for short periods of time. Barkley is only 24 years old, so Brightwell and Jackson might want to look elsewhere to improve their long-term outlooks.