Wayne Gallman ownership is at a combined aggregate of 4.1% for Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS leagues, but will see an explosive boost in fantasy value over the next 48 hours. Gallman most likely will be the highest claimed free agent player off the waiver wire, as Saquon Barkley will be out for 4-8 weeks due to a high ankle sprain. At this point, the Giants depth chart has just Gallman and Elijhaa Penny, with Jonathan Hilliman and Austin Walter on the practice squad. Gallman, the player they drafted in the early fourth round (140th) in 2017 out of Clemson, will get the opportunity to step into the giant shoes of Barkley. He has never seen full-time action as a professional, but he was special at Clemson rushing for more than 1,000 yards in his last two college seasons. The best came as a sophomore when he rushed for 1,514 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 22 catches and a score.
Clemson head coach Debo Swinney discussed the importance of Gallman to the team.
“He’s just a great football player,” Swinney told ESPN. “He’s our leader in that position, and we really like our other players, but we don’t have a lot of experience there. Here’s a guy who’s played in a lot of big games and has been our workhorse so it [was] definitely a loss for us.”
Gallman’s rookie season in 2017 saw him rush 111 times for 476 yards with zero touchdowns. His 4.3 yards per carry average was solid, but Orleans Darkwa (171-751-5) out-carried him, out-gained him, and out-scored him that year. The positive was in him being used as a pass-catcher, and tallying 34 receptions and a touchdown. Then in 2018 New York decided to draft their permanent running back in Saquon Barkley out of Penn State, relegating Gallman to full-time bench duty. The second-year running back got only 51 carries for 176 yards, but he did score his first rushing touchdown.
To start the 2019 season, Wayne Gallman has been up and down. His statistics against the Dallas Cowboys saw him go for 41 yards and one rushing touchdown on just five touches. But, he was hardly used against the Buffalo Bills, registering just one target. Now that he is expected to be New York’s primary ball carrier, barring them finding someone else, what should we expect from the 6’0″, 210 pound running back? To do this, we need to look at his college days at Clemson. Gallman does have the talent to be a solid fantasy producer, but he has been maligned behind Barkley, unable to showcase what he can do.
Lance Zierlein of the NFL.com offered this analysis:
“Comes with NFL-ready body and a competitive running style. Gallman has limited instincts as an interior runner and needs lanes rather than creases, but he’s physical enough to bang out tough yardage. Gallman runs with pace and shows traits of being a one-cut runner who is better off with focused, pre-set tracks rather than searching for his own. He could be an early contributor in a committee with a future as an eventual starter.”
Even though Gallman has never been a featured back, the Giants have trusted him in getting a reasonable amount of volume in the running and passing game. Tallying up the statistics in his first two seasons, he has 162 carries and 70 targets across 28 games. It will be difficult for him to be extremely productive while Barkley is out, as he will not get the same extent of touches in Barkley’s workload. However, Gallman will be the lead back, and that is of ultimate importance. While there is some hope for upside in that role, plus the caveat of the unknown, he is not worth an entire FAAB budget. A solid dedication to acquiring Wayne Gallman should run you anywhere between 20 and 30 percent. Don’t forget that Barkley will return, and Daniel Jones is a running quarterback who strips volume from any rusher (check out this report on Daniel Jones from Andy Singleton). Head coach Pat Shurmur is saying all of the right things, going on record at a press conference and announcing: “We certainly believe in Wayne Gallman, and that he’ll be able to step in and do his very best.” In closing, consider this comment from Sanjay Kirpalani, who covered the ACC for Bleacher Report back in Gallman’s Clemson days:
pretty much a do-it-all back with great receiving skills and physical enough to run b/t the tackles. not elite at any one thing, but solid all-around back that was a workhorse for Clemson during their first title run. think he can perform well while SB recovers.
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) September 24, 2019