I am sure many thought that after Marion Barber's Week 14 outing against the Broncos, in which he ran for 108 yards and a score, was going to be the beginning of some strong games from the former Cowboy. The stats may have looked good, but let me point out a couple things that stood out from that game:
1. With 1:55 seconds left and the Bears on clock-killing mode, Barber decided to run out of bounds. This allowed the Broncos to get the ball back and force overtime.
2. With the Bears in field-goal range, Barber had a costly fumble. Which allowed the Broncos to march down the field and seal a victory with a Matt Prater field goal.
So while Barber did have great stats for about 99% of the game, those two errors cost the team a win. If that wasn't bad enough, Barber followed that with 33 yards off just 11 carries in another loss to the Seahawks in Week 15.
On the flipside, let's see how my Week 16 sleeper Kahlil Bell looked in those two games:
Denver: 9 rushes for 40 yards - 5 catches for 24 yards
Seattle: 15 carries for 65 yards - 5 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown
Not bad for a player who started the season 3rd on the depth chart.
The Chicago Tribune believes that the Bears could wind up giving Bell the nod over Barber this week against the Packers:
Also, Kahlil Bell's 133 all-purpose yards against the Seahawks might influence the coaches to start him over Marion Barber, unless Matt Forte returns from a sprained MCL. Smith refused to rule out Forte and quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb surgery) for the remainder of the season.
The Packers' rushing defense has turned to mush recently and have given up a total of 18.1 fantasy points to running backs this year. Now I don't think Bell will blow up and put up 100+, but those catches he had in the last two games make him an intriguing PPR option. I think Barber will still be named the starter, but in name only, allowing Bell to keep up the pace. He could be worth, at least, a flex spot in larger leagues. I currently have him ranked No. 30 in my Running Back Rankings.