Fantasy Injury Update: Saquon Barkley and Elijah Mitchell Impacting Rankings

Fantasy Injury Update: Saquon Barkley and Elijah Mitchell Impacting Rankings

It’s always a challenge to navigate through injuries in fantasy football, and the RB position is not immune from players getting hurt. The time to set Week 6 lineups is upon us. What is the latest injury information on New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley and San Francisco 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell?

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Latest News and Injury Updates Impacting Fantasy

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Analysis last updated at 6:0p p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Update: According to Adam Schefter, the Giants are optimistic that Barkley plays. He seems to be trending toward playing, but Schefter’s source stopped short of saying the Giants expect Barkley to play.

Second Update: According to Jordan Schultz, Barkley is expected to play tonight.

We haven’t seen Saquon Barkley on a football field since Week 2. Despite being week-to-week, Barkley has missed three straight games with a high ankle sprain. It is typically a 4-6 week injury. This Sunday will mark the passing of four weeks since Barkley initially sprained it.

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Barkley has been progressing. After not practicing at all the week following the injury, Barkley has been limited at every Giants practice the past two weeks. He has not yet been able to get in a full practice, though.

The limited sessions are certainly encouraging, but fantasy managers would feel much more confident about Barkley playing if he were able to practice in full. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet is concerning.

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I do think Barkley is healthy enough to gut it out if he and the team wanted to. However, I also believe the Giants are keenly aware of the direction in which their season is headed.

Could Barkley physically play at less than 100 percent on Sunday night? Probably. Is it worth it to send him out there with Tyrod Taylor as two-touchdown underdogs against one of the best defenses in football? Probably not.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan is not so sure Barkley will return on Sunday night. Take a moment to listen to Barkley’s comments about his ankle.

TE Darren Waller (groin) told me earlier this week he fully expected to play Sunday night vs. Bills. Don’t think anything has changed on that end. He’s officially listed as questionable.

More uncertainty with RB Saquon Barkley. The ankle still looked to be limiting him this… pic.twitter.com/Nvx8pcNpUP

— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) October 14, 2023

This does not sound like a man who is quite ready to return to action.

It’s a tough spot for fantasy managers, as the Giants play Sunday night. For about 90 percent of you, your Barkley replacement is going to be playing earlier in the day. That forces you to make a call on Barkley before we know if he’s playing.

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In situations like this, it’s always a risk/reward proposition. On the road, as heavy underdogs with a backup QB, the reward of Barkley playing does not seem too great.

Of course, your replacement option matters. If you don’t have a quality alternative, you might as well roll the dice on Barkley. But if you have even a viable RB3 to start in his place, I would play it safe and sit Barkley this week.

  Biograhpy

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Analysis last updated at 11:45 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Update: Elijah Mitchell is active.

We last saw Elijah Michell back in Week 3 against the Giants. In a non-competitive game, he saw his largest workload of the season, carrying the ball 11 times for 42 yards.

Since then, Mitchell has been dealing with a knee injury. It’s nothing new for the oft-injured back, who has dealt with multiple knee injuries during his young career. Mitchell has missed two straight games.

Mitchell’s start to Week 6 opened just as ominously as the previous two. He did not practice. Fortunately, he was able to return to limited sessions on Thursday and Friday, drawing a questionable tag.

Despite three weeks having elapsed, we have no information on what Mitchell’s injury actually is. All we know is it’s a knee injury. That makes it difficult to predict whether he can play.

The good news is the 49ers have a rare 1 p.m. ET game in Cleveland this Sunday. We will know Mitchell’s status in time to make lineup decisions.

The better news is it really doesn’t matter at all for Week 6 lineups. Fantasy managers are not starting Mitchell. The real relevance is knowing who to stash as the likely beneficiary if Christian McCaffrey were to go down.

Mitchell’s absence has given us clarity on the 49ers backfield. It’s McCaffrey-Mitchell-Jordan Mason. If Mitchell does return, that makes Mason expendable for fantasy managers who may have picked him up as a stash. Regardless, no 49er running back other than McCaffrey needs to be anywhere near fantasy lineups.

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