Fantasy Football Instant Reaction: Saquon Barkley carted off with knee injury

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If you thought things couldn’t get worse for Saquon Barkley, they just did. During the first quarter of the Giants‘ Week 2 game against the Chicago Bears, Barkley went down awkwardly and grabbed his knee. He was helped off the field, carted to the locker room, then ruled out promptly. The team tweeted he was headed for x-rays on his knee

Obviously, we hope Barkley is OK, but a knee injury for a running back and this type of fast reaction does not portend optimism. Barkley is one of the most talented backs in the game and you’re going to hold on to him until the Giants say he’s out for the season. But you need to start looking at replacement options now.

We’d expect the Giants to split the work between Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis for however long Barkley is out. This is a bad team with a bad offensive line, so neither will be that desirable in Fantasy. Gallman has the most potential upside, but Lewis should handle most of the work in the passing game. The Giants figure to be chasing the scoreboard most weeks, so Lewis could be a PPR flex in deeper leagues. For what it’s worth, Lewis had six carries in the first half of Week 2 for 8 yards.

But there are better replacements for Barkley than Gallman and Lewis. In shallow leagues, Kerryon Johnson re-emerged as a factor in the Lions running game, scoring their first touchdown of Week 2. In deeper leagues, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and Peyton Barber figure to see a lot of touches in their offenses. And don’t hesitate to stash backs like Bryce Love and Devonta Freeman. Love could eventually be the main man in Washington and Freeman appears to be close to joining a team. We’ll have more replacement options for you in the early waiver wire column Sunday night.

As for the rest of the Giants, this bad offense looks even worse. You can’t trust Daniel Jones in anything but a two-quarterback league, and maybe not even there against bad matchups. We have very little clarity on the passing game, but Darius Slayton still has the most upside. At this point you may be better off avoiding all of the Giants in Fantasy.

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