Saquon Barkley is down for the count, which means Wayne Gallman is one of the biggest names in fantasy football. Gallman is the only true running back left on the roster and figures to see the grand majority of Barkley’s vacated snaps. Gallman only has 169 rushing attempts to his name and is something of an unknown in the NFL. However, seeing as he’s taking over for one of the best running backs in the league, let’s take a dive into what to expect from the third-year running back.
Fantasy Football: Wayne Gallman Outlook Without Saquon Barkley
Wayne Gallman the Player
Saquon Barkley injured his ankle early in Week 3’s action, so Gallman saw a decent amount of time on the field. According to Pro Football Reference, Gallman played in 63% of the offensive snaps while recording 13 yards on five carries. These numbers don’t look great, but it’s worth noting that New York spent the entire game trying to eliminate a big deficit. The Giants didn’t have the luxury of running the ball, so Week 3’s action isn’t an accurate reflection of how New York wants to use Gallman.
Gallman joined the Giants in 2017, so he actually had one year where he wasn’t backing up Saquon Barkley. During his rookie season, Gallman recorded 476 rushing yards on 111 attempts for a healthy 4.3 yards-per-carry. His season-long run was just 24 yards, so his average wasn’t artificially inflated by one or two big plays. While he didn’t record a touchdown, most of that was due to a lack of opportunity. Gallman only recorded 14 red zone rushes and only six rushing attempts within the 10. Rushing touchdowns has more to do with opportunity than it does talent, so he should be able to score when given those goal-line touches.
Gallman isn’t anything close to Saquon Barkley, but he has shown the ability to make plays in the passing game. During his rookie season, Gallman recorded 34 receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown. The receptions and yardage were the second-most on among Giants running backs, behind only pass-catching specialist Shane Vereen. It stands to reason that he can improve with an expanded role.
Generational players like Saquon Barkley are able to produce at an elite level regardless of their surroundings. Wayne Gallman is an NFL-caliber running back, but he’s nowhere close to Barkley. Gallman’s ultimate floor and ceiling are determined by his environment, so let’s dive into this New York Giants team and their upcoming schedule.
Rushing success begins with the offensive line. No matter how good you are, you’re not going to be able to generate rushing yards if you don’t have adequate blocking. Fortunately, the Giants offensive line should be able to create enough rushing lanes to keep Gallman productive. According to Football Outsiders, the Giants currently have the eighth-best run-blocking offensive line in the league. This unit has what it takes to make Gallman a productive back on early-down rush attempts.
The offensive line sets the floor, but the offense and opponents set the ceiling for Gallman’s fantasy value. Obviously, Gallman isn’t going to see the same workload as Barkley. Saquon is one of the NFL’s most dynamic players and Gallman simply can’t handle that workload. Fortunately, Gallman should have a decent amount of scoring opportunities with Daniel Jones running the offense. Even if you think the rookie’s debut was something of a fluke, there’s no denying that he’s better than an age-38 Eli Manning. Jones might come back to Earth as the season progresses, but he’ll keep the offense moving. Additionally, the Giants get Golden Tate back in Week 5, which will only improve the aerial attack.
As far as scheduling is concerned, the Giants have something of a bumpy road down the stretch. New York has a few easy games (Arizona, Washington twice) but also has to face off against some top-tier run defenses (Minnesota, New England, Chicago, Green Bay).
Ultimately, there’s no way to definitively know how Wayne Gallman will perform as New York’s starter. However, based on all available information, it’s safe to project him as an RB2 or flex-caliber player for the remainder of the season. He’s serviceable in both the run and pass game and New York’s offense should give him enough opportunity to be fantasy relevant. He’s easily worth a waiver claim and faces a favorable Week 5 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
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