Fantasy Football Cage Match – Marion Barber III

Aug 21, 2008

Time for another Fantasy Football Cage Match.  We have a new challenger, Majesty, to mix it up with Awesome.  Today they debate Marion Barber III.

The Fantasy Cage Match (of the Century, Decade, Day, or Minute, etc.) 
Awesome vs. Majesty

In a no holds barred – they may even rip on each other’s children—contest of wit and sarcasm (or lack thereof), in a 15 foot tall steel cage laced with barbed wire and surrounded by super-hot, scantily clad Terrorist chicks ready to douse the loser with anthrax. (Pause for mental image to set in).

Who will win? I think it was JFK or Jesus who said: It’s not whether you win or lose, but how many people you step on and offend during the course of the game.

“I may not be right, I’m not politically correct, and I’m probably going to offend you in some way, but I’m always AWESOME.”

The Fantasy Football Cage Match:
Position:  Running Back
Player:  Marion Barber III
Stance:  Pro
By:  Awesome

New challenger, same result: meat. Ok meat, let’s go.

Does this guy belong in the top 10 RB’s?? The answer is…NO.

HE BELONGS IN THE TOP 3!!!  So, I guess, technically, the answer is “yes,” but I had to do that for effect. Anyway, the only two I would rank ahead of him are LT, and Addai. And because this is the first thing you’ll want to spew at me, let’s dismiss the other “candidates” before we go on to Barber (don’t worry, this won’t take long).

Adrian Peterson:
You’ll get the full frontal nude attack on Peterson from me in a few days, but here’s the abbreviated edition for those of you have trouble talking to the opposite sex. He’s played less than 1 full year in the NFL because he was injured; he has a history of being injury prone (see where this is going? Yeah, 1 + 1 = YOU’RE STUPID); ankles and knees help you run, and your collar bone… never mind) ; out of the 14 games he actually did play, he had 2 really great games( won your fantasy matchup for you), 4 good games (at least 100 yds & TD, or equivalent), 3 average games (100 yds or less, 0 TDs), and 5 really terrible games (you counted on him, and he lost you the game, including week 16). Hmmm, which one of those numbers is biggest? We’re done here.

Larry Johnson:
Or should I call him “The 1-1/2 Year Wonder”? That’s right, and I won’t get into as much detail because there aren’t as many people on his bandwagon this year, but guess what? Without an Offensive Line, the RB sucks. That’s it.

Brian Westbrook:
Also known as “Captain Injured”. He has NEVER, repeat NEVER played ONE FULL SEASON!!! True, he’s come close, and when he plays, he’s good—really good. But like Peterson, he’s all or nothing. And however good you think he has been, his TD totals for his career read like this (from most recent): 12, 11, 7, 9, 11, 0. Yep. I’ll let that sink in for a second. WOW! Or, as my two year old just learned to say: THAT’S AMAZING!!! That’s actually very average, maybe slightly above average. Either way, he’s a headache and you’ll get burned a few times every year.  You can have him.

Steven Jackson:
Give me a break. The guy had one year of really good numbers, and guess what? During that year, 9 of his “THAT’S AMAZING” TDs all came in weeks 12-17 (yes, 3 TDs in week 17), which means he didn’t even get you into the playoffs, so it doesn’t matter that he won them for you — unless you aim to win the toilet bowl every year, because that’s the trophy he won you.

Who else…Frank Gore? Sure, why not:
TDs (again) most recent: 6, 9, and 3. THAT’S AMAZING!!!. And it’s not like you’ll have to worry about him getting hurt, or playing is a game time decision. ‘Nuff said.

Ok, now let’s get to Barber.

If you like fantasy football, you should also like players who score touchdowns, also called “TDs” (and no, this isn’t the same thing your girlfriend/wife/ex-wife gave you, those are “STDs”). And TDs are worth 6 points. BAM! POW! ZAP!  Just like that! 6 points! Yep, that’s how it works. And don’t whine to me about “well, I get 1 pt for every 10 yards blah blah blah, and so Frank Gore is worth more because blah blah blah,” I don’t care. 6 is worth more than 1, period. At least that’s how my league scores it. And if your league scores it differently, sign me up and increase the entry fee.

And  over the last two years, he racked up 26 TDs, and he did it while sharing time with Julius “not Peppers” Jones, who had (stole) 267 and 166 carries in 2006 & 2007, respectively (not really). Give Barber most of those carries (I’m sure Felix will get some of them, especially in blowouts), and you’ve got your yardage totals that put him in the top 3 by the end of the year.

Let’s remember, the best thing that happened to Marion Barber owners was “The Big D” getting rid of that fossil Bill Parcels.  Parcels is one of those ancient white guys who just hates, HATES to admit when he’s wrong. Sure, he’s a great coach and all, or at least he was; and yes, he deserves a certain amount of respect. But I’ll give him that respect when I see him standing behind my Grandfather in the cafeteria line at the old folks’ home, balancing his tray full of strained peas in one hand, and his oxygen tank in the other. Parcels is the only reason Barber had to share the workload the last two years, despite Julius Jones making a very strong case for his own dismissal. And make no mistake, Julius Jones was his guy. That’s why they kept trying to work him in, Parcels didn’t want to admit he drafted the wrong guy; or possibly, if Jones does what he looks like he’s going to do in Seattle, Parcels just wasn’t willing to write his playbook around Jones’ particular skill-set(s), and the mesh didn’t fit.

Regardless, Barber is the only car in the garage now, and it’s his race to win or lose. He’ll be given the chance. Sure, Felix Jones is there to remind Barber that he may not have much room for error, but really, there’s no way the Cowboys are going to willingly give the running game to a rookie. Not with this team; this team is EXPECTED to make a run for the Super Bowl (if not win it outright), and you don’t go into Vegas or Dallas or anywhere in Texas for that matter with that swagger, confidence that borders on cockiness, with “??s” about your running game. Especially in Dallas, where, historically, they won each and every ring with a great Running Back leading the way. And the Cowboys were confident enough in Barber to let Jones move to the Northwest. Given who’s run for the Jerry Jones in the past, if he’s comfortable letting Barber take the reins in this year’s quest for a ring, then so am I.


The Fantasy Football Cage Match:
Position:  Running Back
Player:  Marion Barber III
Stance:  Con
By:  Majesty

A reporter from the Dallas Morning News had this to say about a Dallas running back: “They’re going to get him the ball in space and give him opportunities to make one guy miss and take it to the house. He gives Dallas a game-breaker in the backfield like they haven’t had in years because he has such big-play potential.”

That player was not named Marion Barber III. Thus, Barber’s claim to his team’s #1 RB position is not without question. Whether or not he should hold your team’s #1 RB spot has a simple answer: No.

What you want out of your top RB is performances that will lead to victories week in, week out. Let’s check out Mr. Barber’s consistency.

In 2007, he averaged 12.75 carries per game with a standard deviation of 4.78. That is, you’d expect him to get anywhere from 8 to 18 carries per game. Compare that against guys like Thomas Jones (19), Fred Taylor (15), Edgerrin James (20), Justin Fargas (16) and LenDale White (19). What you can see is that his better games for carries are sub-par for most of those others. Notice that I’m not comparing him to guys like LT, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Brian Westbrook, etc.

In 2007, he averaged 60.94 yards per game with a standard deviation of 31.97. So in a given week, him getting 30 yards is just as likely as 90 yards. Comparing against the same people:

Jones (70/game, sd of 32)
Taylor (80/game, sd of 34)
James (76/game, sd of 26)
Fargas (72/game, sd of 53)
White (69/game, sd of 34)

So he’s not quite as consistent as James, and on par with Taylor, Jones and White. He does appear to be more consistent than Fargas, but note that Fargas had two games in which he had a total of 3 carries and 13 yards, which elevates his standard deviation and lowers his average. The problem is that while he matches their consistency, it shows that he consistently has fewer yards than them.

Now, the biggest reason his numbers are lower is the running back by committee system. One might wonder why he hasn’t been handed the lead role. Well, the rap on Barber is that he runs really hard. Admittedly, the perk of this is the ability to get the tough yards in either red zone. His most impressive run last year was for two yards, and it was in the end zone, though he didn’t get a touchdown on it. The downside of it is that when you run that hard, you wear yourself out. The team wants you to still have some fuel in the tank for those short yardage situations late in the game. Translation: A limited number of carries.

The most evident reason to not name Marion Barber your #1 RB is because of that dreaded running back by committee. After getting rid of Julius Jones (164 carries last year vs. Barber’s 204) in the offseason, it looked like MB3 would have things all to himself. Yet it looks as though he still might share carries with Jones. Not that Jones, the other Jones! Felix Jones played second fiddle to Darren McFadden in college, and still put up solid numbers there. Clearly he knows how to make most out of the second spot.

Speaking of McFadden, before the NFL draft there’d been some talk about Dallas wanting to trade up to get McFadden, even if it meant dealing Barber. The fact that they even considered a move like that illustrates that the team just isn’t sold on the guy as their top back. If his employer isn’t ready to depend on him to be their #1 player, neither should you.

Lester’s Ruling
Well, this is basically a draw to me.  I don’t see MB3 as a top 3 RB, but I do feel he is worthy of being a #1 RB.  The thing I like about Barber is his TD production.  He’ll still have to share carries with Felix Jones, but the red zone is his.  Barber basically has a free pass when he gets down there because you have to worry about T.O. and Witten.  Jones will have to break off a long run to reach paydirt.  If pressed to choose I’d say Awesome wins this by a hair.

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3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. John V
    September 6th, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    Wow. Good stuf guys, but I still need help…and need it fast!!

    I have Barber. I guy in my league wants to trade S. Jackson even up for him.

    should I do it? I’m just scared of making the wrong move. The Rams are going to suck so bad this year…


  2. LestersLegends
    September 7th, 2008 at 6:40 am #

    That’s dicey. S-Jax is the better back, but Barber plays on a better team with a better line, which should work in his favore, but then S-Jax will likely play the season out while Barber could start seeing less carries in the last week or two.

    Are you a gambling type? If you like to take risks then go for it. If you are the type that is going to let if bug you every time Barber has a better week than S-Jax then I probably wouldn’t do it. No need to ruin the fun of your fantasy season over it.

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    June 30th, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    I found very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. keep it that way.

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