All we can say for Saquon Barkley fantasy football owners following Monday night’s game is we hope your league is based off a PPR (points per reception) scoring format. Six yards on 15 rushing attempts simply does not cut it, not for fantasy owners and not for a New York Giants team that is relying on Barkley to be the epicenter of their offense.
Barkley’s struggles were of course a major postgame topic of discussion in New York. However, when asked by members of the media about his play, the running back responded in typical Barkley fashion, heaping praise on the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
“I’m not really too concerned about the stats,” Barkley said. “You have to give credit where credit is due. They have a great defense, especially their defensive front. They made some plays and we weren’t able to win the game today.”
Barkley Never Had a Chance
Much of Barkley’s struggles in Week 1 were out of his control, as Pro Football Focus noted that the former No. 2 overall pick averaged negative-0.7 rushing yards before contact per attempt vs. Pittsburgh.
North Jersey Advance Media’s Matt Lombardo noted Barkley’s struggles to get going downhill against the Steelers’ stout front-seven with the running back following the game, also asking “what do you guys need to do to get better going into next week.”
“We just got to go back and watch film and learn” Barkley proclaimed.
Barkley’s six yards rushing (0.4 yards per carry) on the night made him just the sixth-leading rusher in the game between both teams. Barkley was even outpaced by both quarterbacks, as Daniel Jones led Big Blue with 22 yards on the ground, while Ben Roethlisberger finished the game with nine rushing yards on three carries.
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O-Line Struggles , Potential Changes
Throughout his first five years in the league, Cameron Fleming had always been perceived as a stop-gap starter and swing tackle rather than a day one starter at right tackle. On Monday, the Giants got a first-hand look at why that had previously been the case. Fleming was treated like a turnstile by the Pittsburgh defense all night, with edge rushers TJ Watt and Bud Dupree finding their way into New York’s backfield at will.
If Fleming’s efforts in Week 2 are anything reminiscent of his Week 1 play, he may very well find himself on the bench, especially with third-round rookie Matt Peart waiting in the wings.
While Fleming was the weakest link on the Giants’ rebuilt offensive line on Monday, center Nick Gates was likely the most disappointing. A promising guard/tackle prospect a season ago, Gates looked very much like a player making his first career start at a new position, which was exactly the case for Gates in Week 1. We’ll chalk his struggles up to a learning curve, but if he and Fleming’s struggles continue, New York could entertain moving Gates back outside to tackle and sliding center Spencer Pulley into the starting lineup.
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