Darren McFadden: Fantasy Football MVP or Fantasy Football Bust

By Adam McGill

There is no question that Oakland Raiders’ running back, Darren McFadden, is one of the best running backs in fantasy football when he is healthy, but he just gets injured way too much to be a reliable fantasy option.  McFadden was only able to play in seven games last year due to an injury, which is more like six games considering that he only had three touches in the game he was injured in.  He is still extremely young, but he has already been labeled injury prone.  Now he may be injury prone, or it could be that he is purely unlucky, but regardless in his four-year NFL career he has already suffered a foot injury, turf toe injury, and ankle injury.  The bottom line is that McFadden cannot score for you if he is sitting on your bench each week and with “Run DMC” it is a serious concern.

Running back has historically been the most important position in fantasy football, but recently it has been mauled by injuries, and McFadden has been a perfect example of this.  He has missed a staggering 19 games over his first four NFL seasons and seems to always be a questionable start when Sunday comes around.  Regardless of his injury history though, the former Arkansas Razorback star has shown glimpses of being a true between-the-tackle-back in the NFL and is one of the only backs that can receive 20 plus touches on the ground per game in the upcoming season.

In limited action last year, he was still able to rack up 614 rushing yards and another 154 receiving yards.  He was one of the most dominant running backs in all of fantasy before his untimely injury last season.  The 24-year old running back is an extremely punishing downhill runner despite weighing in at only six-foot-one, 210 pounds, but at times it leaves him vulnerable to get injured, as many people have already seen.  He runs much harder then his size would dictate, as he is one of the few NFL backs that look for contact.  This can eventually shorten an NFL running back’s career, because they get hit enough on any given Sunday.

McFadden remains a very risky first round pick this year, but his potential to put up monster numbers may be too hard to ignore.  He runs with Arian Foster-like authority and has the break away speed of the running back formerly known as Adrian Peterson.  McFadden is still a first round pick this fantasy football season, but his injury history will most likely cause him to drop to end of the first round.  He will still be a number one fantasy back this season, but he is one player that may require a handcuff in 2012.


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