Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why Marion Barber is not a first-round RB

I love Marion Barber. In the purest, manliest sense of the word, of course. But despite his powerful, no-holds-barred running style that makes him an outstanding fantasy RB, he simply can't be considered a first-round value in 2009.

Blame Felix Jones.

As a rookie, Jones showed extraordinary play-making ability, including an otherworldly 8.9 yards-per-carry average. Only a toe injury prevented him from being a fantasy powerhouse, and from stealing from Barber's spotlight. In his second year, the Cowboys know what they have in Jones, and won't hesitate to feed him the ball early and often. There's rampant speculation that both backs will frequently be on the field at the same time, possibly with Felix split out as a receiver. And there's still the very real possibility that Jones will be tapped as the starter, with the bruising Barber kept in check until late in the game, when he can pummel worn-out opposing defenses. That was the strategy that first made Barber a star a couple of years ago; and made Julius Jones a Seahawk.

And we can't forget that Tyson Thompson has earned some playing time as well, after his late-season rushing heroics in 2008.

Any way you look at it, it's bad news for Barber. He simply can't be an every-week elite RB along the lines of AP, S-Jax, Forte and Turner. He'll likely be taken with a No. 1 pick, but he won't play up to that level.

I'll take Felix a few rounds later, and get similar (if not better) production.

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