Jahmyr Gibbs vs Saquon Barkley: Who is the Better Fantasy Pick?

Gibbs is one of the most explosive players in the league, however running behind the Eagles offensive line, Barkley could be in line for a career year.
Gibbs vs Barkley Fantasy Analysis
In this fantasy showdown, we take a look at our 2024 outlooks for Jahmyr Gibbs and Saquon Barkley.

The top six running backs in redraft and best ball formats are fairly consistent across the board. Experts have McCaffrey, Bijan Robinson, and Breece Hall as their top three guys, while Gibbs, Barkley, and Jonathan Taylor round out the rest of the top six in virtually any order.

After a 2023 season where he scored 16.1 PPG in PPR formats on top of some incredibly efficient stats, Jahmyr Gibbs comes in a hair ahead of Saquon Barkley, who will try and find comfort in his new offense with the Eagles.

Current ADP

Looking at current ADP data, Gibbs and Barkley are separated by just 0.7 points, with both players going between picks 12 and 17 - depending on what site you are playing on.

FantasyPros (redraft)

  • Gibbs: ADP 13 (RB5)

  • Barkley: ADP 14 (RB6)

Underdog (best ball)

  • Gibbs: ADP 12 (RB4)

  • Barkley: ADP 17 (RB6)

2023 Season Recap

Has a rookie running back ever looked more explosive than Jahmyr Gibbs last year? Dan Campbell and company probably want to say: “I told you so” after spending their 12th overall pick in the 2023 draft on Gibbs, who was projected as a late 1st, early 2nd round pick leading up to draft day. All in all, Gibbs has already earned superstar status in my book, finishing as the RB10 last season on 234 total touches.

For reference, this ranked 25th among RBs and second on his own team, with David Montgomery clocking 235 total touches last season. Talk about balance. Gibbs most notably showcased what he can do after breaking the first tackle - beating virtually any linebacker or safety to the point of attack with his shiftiness and speed. Post their week 10 bye, Jahmyr finished as the RB7 with 13.5 PPG from then on in.

As for Barkley, he’ll try to find his spot on an offense with Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and of course A.J. Brown. Saquon finished 2023 as the RB13 while totaling 288 touches (8th among RBs). With the switch to the Eagles, a 39-touch game is most likely out of the window, but the good news is that the once injury-riddled Barkley has gone two straight seasons without much of a ding. While he failed to reach the 1k mark in rush yards, his 10 total TDs made it up for fantasy owners across the board.

2024 Fantasy Outlook

The Lions offense should click on all cylinders early in the season, as the most potent offense will only get better with more reps. Gibbs comes in as the RB3 on our big board, with an RB1 ceiling and RB8 floor should he stay healthy most of the season.

Although David Montgomery is still a factor as he’ll command nearly 200 total touches himself, Campbell and the staff have internally agreed that Gibbs is too valuable to let Monty outpace him in touches for a second consecutive season. While some RBs struggle to take on extra work, Gibbs is built for this, and with plenty of tread on his tires, 2024 looks to be a career year for the superstar.

Barkley will play for the best offense of his career in his first year with Philly. While this sounds like a blessing, we are expecting his touch count to drop slightly. With three games with 25+ touches, the Philly offense has too many mouths to feed for that stat to come true again. Saquon comes in as the RB11 on our big board, with Travis Etienne, Rachaad White, Alvin Kamara, and Josh Jacobs having the edge with more projected touches - especially inside the red zone.

Remember, last season D’Andre Swift was the lead back for Philadelphia and only crossed the 20-attempt mark twice. Furthermore, he finished the year as the RB20 with 268 touches. It will all come down to Jalen Hurts in the red zone but as of now, year two Gibbs has the edge over Barkley who will be giving up red zone touches and some PPR work to the Eagles receiving core.

Our Pick: Jahmyr Gibbs

Jahmyr Gibbs has the talent, situation, and ceiling to finish this season as the RB1. As for Saquon Barkley, he joins a Philadelphia team that has seen offensive success in fantasy football but not so much from the running back position.

Miles Sanders and D’Andre Swift were both in great spots to finish as the RB10 or better in 2022 and 2023 respectively, but Sanders’ RB15 finish and Swift’s RB20 finish make it difficult to envision a world where Barkley finishes as the RB5 similar to what experts are projecting.

In a Kellen Moore offense that will focus on getting Brown and Smith their targets before anything, I’m sitting back on Barkley.

As for Gibbs, in redrafts, best ball, and dynasty, the sky's the absolute limit for the 2nd year halfback who is bound to get more red zone and passing work as the season moves along.

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