Each week during the 2022 NFL season, Field Yates will help fantasy football managers by providing the precise intel needed on the most important, fantasy-relevant storylines, with some help from friends at ESPN, who offer the best and freshest insight into what matters most. Field's Rolodex is vast; he'll dial up whomever he needs. This is the Field Pass.
It's not much of a stretch to imagine a group chat among fantasy football leaguemates that goes something along these lines:
Player 1: Does someone want to remind me why I used a first-round pick on Alvin Kamara? He's played in two of three games and is averaging less than 7.5 points per game.
Player 2: I mean, I had the first overall pick and used it on Jonathan Taylor, who has just 19.4 fantasy points over the past two weeks. Did I make a mistake?
Player 3: Cool, I took Justin Jefferson as WR1 off the board expecting a huge leap, and he has 62 receiving yards over the past two weeks.
Player 4: I think I feel OK about Christian McCaffrey, right? Can we throw him the ball more, please?
Player 5: I got Saquon Barkley at the end of Round 2 and life is good. Actually, it's great.
That's where we're going to lead things off here at Field Pass HQ for Week 4: the return of Saquon Barkley to a form that resembles his incredible rookie campaign back in 2018.
It's been such a treat to watch Barkley look like himself, and this is something that he predicted this offseason when he was steadfast in his stance that he'd prove the detractors wrong.
Through three weeks, Barkley is the highest-scoring running back, and he has staying power on his side. He's averaging 22.6 fantasy points per game thus far, but it's the avenue he is taking to get there that has me so enthused.
Barkley is sixth in the NFL in total carries so far, averaging an awesome 6.0 yards per carry. Even if you were to subtract Barkley's 68-yard run back in Week 1, Barkley would still be averaging 4.8 yards per carry, the highest for him in any season since 2018. His efficiency has been incredible.
Beyond that, he's been a huge factor in the passing game, too. He has 13 catches through three games, which is tied for fifth among all running backs, and he's run the third-most routes among backs, too. That reception total isn't fluky.
And while the NFL is trending toward backfield committees almost everywhere you look, Saquon is the guy in the Giants' backfield. Consider this: Barkley has 66 of the 74 total touches by all Giants running backs this season, or 89.2%. No other running back has a higher percentage of his team's total, with Matt Breida playing hardly a role as his backup. Barkley is playing an astronomical 86.7% of the snaps, also the highest mark for any running back in the league. For perspective, Jonathan Taylor -- a feature back in his own right -- is playing 74.2% of the snaps for the Colts.
And while the numbers tell a revealing story, the film backs it all up: Barkley looks the part. He's dynamic, explosive and one of the most valuable players in fantasy football. He's a top-three running back play in Week 4 for me.
Let's dive into more running backs here at Field Pass, covering nearly the entire NFC North.