The fantasy value of Darren “Run DMC” McFadden is tricky, just like the name of popular song “It’s Tricky” from the musical artist Run DMC, his nickname sake.
To simply look at stats, you can tell that Darren McFadden is off to a great fantasy start this year. Last year, he only had 357 yards on 104 carries. Already this year, he has 240 yards on 34 carries. If he continues on this pace, by the time he gets 104 carries, he will have 520 yards. These are significant numbers considering that he should reach 104 carries by Week 5 if things continue on this same path.
What does this mean for you and your fantasy team? It means that while he hasn’t been splitting carries with Michael Bush, he has been fantasy gold.
But where has this been in his pro career? He was a stud in college, but is just now reaching his peak in the NFL.
Darren McFadden impressed the first time he set foot on the field as a Razorback in Arkansas. As a true freshman, he had 11 touchdowns with 1,113 yards. Unfortunately, the team around him was pretty poor, going just 4-7 on the season. Does this sound like the Raiders to you?
As his team got better in 2006, McFadden became more of a threat by rushing for 14 touchdowns and throwing for 3. He carried his team to a 10-game win streak and they even made a bowl game that year. McFadden’s stats climbed steadily, but the most jaw-dropping was that throughout the whole season, he averaged 5.8 yards per carry and 13.5 yards per reception. McFadden placed second in Heisman Trophy voting that year, losing to Troy Smith.
McFadden declared for the draft after his monster season in 2007 in which he rushed for 16 TDs and 1,830 yards, but once again he was snubbed in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was second again losing to Tim Tebow.
McFadden was then picked as 4th overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2008. He was splitting carries with Justin Fargas back then, only got 113 carries his rookie year, but he did manage to get just under 500 yards and 4 TDs with 4.4 yards per carry. Those were poor fantasy numbers, but his 2009 season was worse. He had 357 yards and just one TD to show for his 104 carries while he was splitting carries with Michael Bush.
But this year, things have changed.
Bush has been sidelined so far this season with a thumb injury, but has been considered a game time decision for week 3. McFadden currently has the second most rushing yards in the NFL, but will Tom Cable and company let Bush take back the starting spot? I think not. The Raiders have always been a very fickle organization, known for benching JaMarcus Russell last year in favor of Bruce Gradkowski and benching Jason Campbell this year in favor of Gradkowski again.
“It’s Tricky” to see how the running back scenario will shake out later on this season, but for now, don’t count on Michael Bush to slow down Run DMC.