Does Tiki Barber Have Any Fantasy Value?

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Over the past year, retired running back Tiki Barber has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Whether it was leaving his pregnant wife for the young and sexy Tracy Lynn Johnson or comparing his situation to that of Anne Frank, the media has been deservedly harsh of the three-time Pro-Bowler.

Now the 36-year old Barber plans to come out of retirement and see if he can still run with the big boys. According to an interview in the latest issue of SI, Barber is fit as he has ever been and ready to join a NFL roster as soon as the impending Lockout is ended.

Assuming Barber sticks with his goal and joins a team’s training camp, is the former All-Pro Halfback with 10,449 career rushing yards and 67 touchdowns, worth a fantasy draft pick?

By: Nick Grays
The first and most significant concern with Barber’s return to the gridiron is his five-year hiatus away from the game. We’re not talking a small stint in prison like that of QB Michael Vick or WR Plaxico Burress (another fantasy question mark), but rather a miserable four years where Barber couldn’t do any of his new jobs with the media well.

While it’s not completely certain whether this had a physical effect on Barber, everyone knows it had a psychological effect on his very large ego.

But, this could be a good thing if he can rightfully dedicate himself to the game of football and stay away from the whiny little running back he was near the end in New York.

I think it would be wrong to assume Barber is washed up because like former teammate Michael Strahan told SI, “He didn’t leave because he was a beat-up bum on the end of the bench.”

Barber feels he can come back and help any franchise immediately (probably not the New York Giants though).

However, how many running backs over the age of 35 excelled in regards to fantasy last season?

The answer is ZERO. That’s right, there wasn’t one running back in all of the NFL over the age of 35 to have anywhere near a significant enough season warranting a fantasy draft pick in 2010. The closest player was Ricky Williams, age 34, who ranked 37th among fantasy backs with 85 points.

If you were to compare Barber to any running back in regards to an extended break from the NFL, it would be Williams who had his fare share of off-field issues and a similar hiatus. But, the fact remains that Williams’ tough running style is better partnered with maturing age than that of Barber’s finesse style.

When Barber makes his dramatic return to the NFL, I suggest to stay away from the hoopla and at all costs avoid Barber in your fantasy draft, even if some people have him as a possible sleeper. For me, Barber is way too high of a risk in even the deepest of fantasy leagues.

What do you think of Barber’s situation? Would you possibly spend a late-round fantasy pick on this guy in a deep fantasy league? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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  1. Justin Mertes-Mistretta says

    I agree with you, I think it would be hard to envision any sort of fantasy worthy season out of him at his age and years away from the league. It would take the most ideal situation and all the stars to align, and even then I don’t know if he could have a great season. I may be tempted to pick him with my last pick just out of nostalgia though, haha.

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