Contract Year Player Outlook: Saquon Barkley (2022 Fantasy Football)
We recently look at the impact contract status has on fantasy football performance. Focusing specifically on players entering the final year of their rookie contracts, Sam Ryner put together key general takeaways and also players impacted entering the 2022 fantasy football season. Let’s take a deeper dive on one of those players, Saquon Barkley.
Other Contract Year Player Outlooks:
- Diontae Johnson
- Daniel Jones
- Dawson Knox
- Hunter Renfrow
- Irv Smith Jr.
- Mecole Hardman
- Tony Pollard
- Terry McLaurin
- Alexander Mattison
- DK Metcalf
- Deebo Samuel
- Devin Singletary
- Josh Jacobs
- Darrell Henderson
- Miles Sanders
- Damien Harris
RB contract-season fantasy performance data (2017-21; PPR scoring)
- 46.7% produced a PPG at least one point above their career average.
- 42.6% produced a PPG at least one point below their career average.
- 11.1% produced a PPG within one point of their career average.
- 33.3% had the best season-end rank of their rookie contract.
- 31.1% had the worst season-end rank of their rookie contract.
Fun Fact: 70% of UDFA RBs who were identified as fantasy-relevant had their best season-end rank in their career during their contract season.
What this means: The RB position is similar to the QB position in that there isn’t much of a difference in the percentage of players who improved versus players who saw a dip in their PPG during the final year of their rookie contract. It’s also similar in that the top RBs are usually signed to contract extensions before playing in the final year of their rookie contract. Since 2017, the following players signed contract extensions before playing in the final season of their rookie contract: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and Ezekiel Elliott. Of the RBs currently ranked as RB1s according to FantasyPros’ expert consensus rankings in PPR formats, only Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, and Aaron Jones have played in the final season of their rookie contracts. 75% of the players ranked as RB1s are either still playing on their rookie contract or received a contract extension before their rookie contract expired. The overall takeaway for the RB position is that contract seasons haven’t been strongly correlated to positive or negative player performance relative to their career average PPG.
Saquon Barkley 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
Last season was nightmare fuel for Saquon Barkley. In his return from the ACL injury, he posted his career’s lowest breakaway run rate (3.1%, per Playerprofiler.com) and yards after contact per attempt (2.69, per PFF). With Joe Judge and Jason Garrett’s special brand of season-destroying special sauce gone, Barkley has all the motivation to crush this year as a pending free agent. With the additions of Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, and first-round pick Evan Neal to pair with holdover Andrew Thomas, the blocking upfront should be much improved. A massive bounce-back campaign could be brewing.
– Andrew Erickson
2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.