Once again, Buccaneers RB Peyton Barber started and played admirably, taking 5 carries for 34 yards (6.8 YPC) and a TD as the clear-cut No.1 back versus Detroit. He’s now averaged over 5 YPC in all three preseason contests while scoring in two, and is firmly entrenched as the top dog in this backfield.
As he’s always done when given the opportunity, Barber ripped through tackles and found tight creases all night — especially on his beautiful 14 yard TD score. He logged 8 straight snaps with the first team before being put on ice for the night (and likely rest of preseason), and has now played 33 of 51 first team snaps (65%).
The struggling Ronald Jones then relieved him for Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s second and final drive, yet once again struggled mightily. Outside of a nice 37-yard reception, Jones was stuffed all night, mustering just 7 yards on 6 carries. He’s firmly below Barber on this depth chart.
Last week, HC Dirk Koetter labeled Barber the clear starter, which was once again validated during the Dress Rehearsal. The coach went as far as suggesting a workhorse role for Barber, stating, “He’s got his eye on the prize and right where it should be. He’s doing everything he should be doing right now, and I think if we went out there and gave it to Peyton 20 times, we’d like what he does.”
Barber thrives with volume. When given the opportunity last year (Weeks 13-17), Barber averaged 15.6 carries per game (4.3 YPC) and 2.4 receptions (6.9 YPR). Extrapolate this over 16 games, and Barber would finish with 250/1,037/6 Receiving 38/265/1, or 210 PPR points which would’ve been a Top-12 Fantasy Season. He’s looked even better this preseason. His ADP continues to climb, but still around Round 10, he’s a bonafide steal.