I feel that Darren McFadden would have benefited from a change of scenery, but the Oakland Raiders decided to give him another chance with a one-year deal. The 26-year-old back has never been able to replicate his impressive 2010 fantasy season of 1,157 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns, and many fantasy football players have given up on him years ago. Just like the Raiders, however, fantasy players should consider giving McFadden one last chance.
With the addition of Maurice Jones-Drew, McFadden will not have to put the entire weight of the offense on his shoulders. Jones-Drew will most likely start off the season as the starter, but McFadden will see most of the goal line work. A lighter workload should hopefully mean an injury-free season for McFadden, and he will benefit from the dump off passes that Matt Schaub will throw when Schaub is being pressured. If Jones-Drew can stay healthy and productive, this rushing attack could turn into a poor man’s version of Chris Johnson and LenDale White, where Johnson scored nine rushing touchdowns and White scored 15 from his short yardage work in the 2008 season.
The injury-prone back has never played a full season, and he has only averaged 3.3 yards per carry since 2012. Jones-Drew could completely take over the backfield, and McFadden could find himself in gimmick roles. He also loses his value as a dual-threat back, as Jones-Drew is also able to turn himself into a receiver when called upon. Finally, the news out of OTAs suggests that McFadden could find himself returning kicks this year, which greatly increases his chance of injury.
McFadden has the odds stacked against him, but for where he is being drafted, he should absolutely have a spot on your roster. He no longer garnishes a first, second or third-round pick, and fantasyfootballcalculator.com indicates that his ADP is near the end of the eighth round in 12-team leagues. For a running back that can finish in the top 20, McFadden is quite the bargain.
Bye Week: 5
Projected Round: 8
Auction Value: $4 (fftoolbox.com)