Mark my words. Darren McFadden will be a Fantasy Football surprise in 2013. Do not miss your chance to pick up the Oakland Raiders‘ featured running back. McFadden was and is an extremely talented athlete, and I strongly believe this is the year that he will break out.
In his college years, McFadden was a two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best college running back. McFadden was among the nation’s best at any position as well. He finished second in the Heisman voting in both 2006 and 2007, and the latter year he was barely beaten out by some guy named Tim Tebow.
Unfortunately for McFadden and many college football stars, a strong performance before the NFL is not enough to merit investment for fantasy owners. McFadden, like many others before and after him, was unable to burst onto the scene in his first couple years. In his first two seasons, McFadden only started in 12 of the Raiders’ regular season games but still managed to gain just under 700 rushing and receiving yards per season.
2010 was Run DMC’s first big season as he was the main focus of the Raider backfield for the first time. Unluckily, a torn meniscus in his knee resulted in a choppy season with four weeks missed in the second month for surgery. Nevertheless, McFadden returned and managed to accumulate over 1,100 rushing yards in just 13 starts. Given a whole, unbroken season, McFadden’s status as a middle-of-the-pack running back could have been avoided.
McFadden’s 2011 and 2012 seasons are the reason he is so undervalued. In 2011, he was leading the NFL in rushing yards after six weeks but a Week 7 foot injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. In 2012, McFadden managed to get back onto the field for more games, starting 12 times, but an ankle injury again slowed down his progress.
According to CBSSports.com and ESPN.com, McFadden seems to be hanging right around the 40th overall draft pick on average. I truly believe this will be McFadden’s year and fantasy owners will look back on the draft and either say “I should have gone after him earlier” or “I got lucky to get him as late as I did.” Do not miss out on your chance to have one of the most talented running backs in the game. All McFadden needs is a chance to have a full season with healthy legs in order to impress us all with his amazing athleticism. 2013 could very well be that year.