Fantasy football is fickle business.
Rewind a month or two to your draft, and you’re ecstatic to land the No. 1 overall pick. The draft begins, and you waste no time grabbing Saquon Barkley with your selection, and you might as well pencil in the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year for at least 20 points per week.
For two weeks, everything is awesome, until that dreaded news: Barkley, ankle injury, will not return.
The Giants lost the star running back Sunday to a high ankle sprain, and it’s unclear how much time he’ll miss. But unless he’s Superman, at least two games seems like a conservative guess. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Monday reported Barkley will miss the “next several weeks.” He’s not going to play in Week 4, and the Giants have the unfortunate distinction of playing Thursday night — on the road against the Patriots, no less — in Week 6.
So, you have to buy some time until Barkley returns. Here are some replacements you should look at targeting on this week’s waiver wire.
Wayne Gallman Jr., Giants (owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues)
If you own Barkley and are in a big league, you might already have Gallman as a handcuff — nice job by you. Considering he’s only owned in one of every 20 leagues, however, he’s apparently very available. It’s kind of a weird spot. Gallman obviously isn’t Saquon, and who knows what the Giants’ offense will look like with Daniel Jones at quarterback moving forward. But until (if) the Giants sign a running back, Gallman is the top tailback on the depth chart behind Barkley.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots (owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues)
It should go without saying at this point, but it’s hard to know what the Patriots offense will do on a week-to-week basis, especially as it pertains to the backfield. That being said, it seems as if second-year back Sony Michel is in a bit of a sophomore slump, and Burkhead has been the backfield beneficiary. The veteran totaled 47 yards on 11 carries Sunday vs. the Jets and also scored a touchdown. He’s a decent enough pass-catcher, too, which should give him some value there. Again, the Patriots’ usage makes him a bit of a risk, but you could do worse.
Carlos Hyde, Texans (owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Might be a long shot to obtain him, but Hyde has filled in nicely for Lamar Miller in Houston. The veteran running back only ran for 19 yards Sunday, but he salvaged the day with a touchdown. Even with the yardage dropoff in Week 3, he’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry so far this season.
Darrel Williams, Chiefs (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues)
It’s been a painful season for Kansas City running backs this season, and with Damien Williams out, Darrel Williams saw an uptick in carries Sunday. He made the most of his chances, running for 62 yards on just nine carries. LeSean McCoy is the big factor here, but if his ankle remains an issue, Darrel Williams stands to benefit in the NFL’s most explosive offense.