Raiders running back Peyton Barber was a fantasy football week winner in Week 3 with a shocking RB1 performance. Does that mean he deserves a spot in your Week 4 lineup? Should you put in a waiver wire claim for Barber?
Peyton Barber Fantasy Outlook: Don’t go point chasing!
Did you experience a bit of déjà vu when reading that headline? If you did, don’t be alarmed. Last week, I had the same headline when cautioning against starting Devin Singletary after a big Week 2 outing.
Peyton Barber truly came out of nowhere
With Josh Jacobs sidelined by an ankle injury, it really defies all logic for Jon Gruden to feature journeyman Peyton Barber in the lead role over Kenyan Drake, who received $8.5 million in guaranteed money from the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason.
Yet, Barber looked infinitely better than Drake against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Barber carried the ball 23 times for 111 yards and a touchdown while catching 3 of 5 targets for 31 yards.
Much like the Dolphins, the Chargers struggle against the run
Through three weeks, the Dolphins have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The Chargers are not nearly as generous, but they do allow the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs.
Last week, Clyde Edwards-Helaire — who had just 89 total rushing yards in his first two games — ripped off 100 yards on 17 carries against the Chargers. Los Angeles is definitely a plus matchup for the Las Vegas backfield.
What about Josh Jacobs?
After missing back-to-back weeks, Josh Jacobs has a shot to return this week. Gruden indicated he is hopeful Jacobs can practice and ultimately play on Sunday. Jacobs’ health status is directly correlated to Barber’s fantasy value.
Peyton Barber’s status if Josh Jacobs plays
If Jacobs is active, then the thesis is quite simple: bench Barber. A healthy Jacobs is going to be the lead runner, and Drake would likely retain his role as the Raiders’ passing-down back. However, even that might be a stretch for Drake, as it was all Barber in overtime last week (including passing plays). Regardless, you cannot start Barber if Jacobs plays.
Barber’s role if Josh Jacobs doesn’t play
The Raiders face the Chargers on Monday Night Football in Week 4, and the extra day of rest is both a blessing and a curse in this situation. It gives Jacobs a little extra time to heal, but it puts fantasy managers in a bind as you will likely have to make a Sunday morning decision between Jacobs/Barber. Las Vegas’ weekly practice report — especially on Friday — will be telling.
If Jacobs is not playing, consider Barber a touchdown-dependent RB3. It’s just very difficult to buy into Barber’s 23.7 Week 3 fantasy points as anything more than a random occurrence. If Barber goes out there and proves me wrong, I will tip my cap.
Barber is a replacement-level player — he was on Washington’s practice squad to open the season because he couldn’t make the roster. Additionally, last week’s effort was fueled by a positive game script that allowed Derek Carr to hand the ball off 23 times. That can happen against Jacoby Brissett — it won’t happen against Justin Herbert.
Should you start Peyton Barber in Week 4 fantasy lineups?
With so many players injured and underperforming, I don’t want to completely dismiss the notion of starting Barber. You can certainly do worse as your RB3/flex. However, I think most of you can find someone with both a higher floor and a higher ceiling. Even if Jacobs doesn’t play, I would lean towards avoiding Barber this week.