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Joe Judge not committing to Saquon Barkley playing in opener

Giants RB1 not sure for Week 1

Running back Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants runs a drill during a joint practice with the Cleveland Browns on August 19, 2021 in Berea, Ohio. Running back Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants runs a drill during a joint practice with the Cleveland Browns on August 19, 2021 in Berea, Ohio.

The New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley won’t play in their final preseason game against the New England Patriots, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. That news was expected, but Judge went on to say that they have yet to make a decision on whether RB Saquon Barkley will be available for the regular-season opener in two weeks.

Barkley tore his ACL in Chicago in Week 2 of last season and the Giants have been bringing him back slowly. He returned to practice this week, but in a non-contact jersey. Much will likely depend on conditioning and watching the surgically repaired knee after going at full speed in practices.

The Giants face the Denver Broncos in New Jersey Week 1. If we don’t see Barkley for the game, Devontae Booker would be the lead back while Corey Clement would likely get work as well. Neither would be a strong start in normal sized leagues, but in larger 14-team league Booker could have value.

Does this mean Barkley should be dropped in our rankings? Probably, but it also could be an opportunity to get him at a discount. The team is slow rolling him because they want him healthy for the whole season and there is an extra game this year. We should still get plenty out of a healthy Barkley in fantasy in 2021.