Fantasy football: Keep rappin’ with Raiders RB Darren McFadden
BY JEFF AGREST firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @JeffreyA22 October 23, 2012 7:20PM
Raiders running back Darren McFadden has rushed for only 324 yards and is averaging a disappointing 3.1 yards per carry this season. | AP
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:44AM
Run DMC is illin’.
Not the good kind of illin’, either. Like when someone says, ‘‘That was sick!’’ after a great play.
Darren McFadden is actually sick — at least from a fantasy perspective. And some owners might think it’s tricky how they should proceed. So follow Peter Piper and walk this way as we examine whether the Raiders running back can be the King of Rock again.
I’m dating myself, I know.
For starters, if McFadden was going to have his long-awaited breakout game, it should have happened Sunday. The Jaguars entered the game having allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs using an ESPN standard-scoring system. McFadden was coming off a 27-carry effort that put to rest concerns about his ailing shoulder.
Then he rushed 19 times for 53 yards. Sick.
McFadden has an incredible combination of speed and power. He also is a good receiver, catching 25 passes this season. He has had at least 20 touches in four games, but the production isn’t there.
Through six games, McFadden has 324 rushing yards and is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Through six games last season, he had 610 rushing yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. In the seventh game, he left in the first quarter with an injured right foot. He didn’t play again the rest of the season.
But those first six games had owners predicting big things for McFadden this season, with most draft boards ranking him among the top 10 at the position. The only caveat, albeit a big one, was his health. He’s in his fifth season, and his next 16-game season will be his first.
With the Raiders’ offensive line struggling, though, McFadden has suffered. In fact, the Raiders have struggled across the board on offense. The lack of a running game has forced them to throw 40.2 times per game, fifth-most in the league. While some teams ahead of them often choose to throw more (Lions, Saints and Patriots), the Raiders have had little choice.
McFadden owners are running out of patience. They drafted him as a No. 1 running back but aren’t receiving No. 1 production. If the Jaguars didn’t bring the best out of McFadden, who will? Fortunately, the schedule is in the Raiders’ favor.
Of their final 10 opponents, eight are ranked 18th or lower in run defense. This week, McFadden will face the Chiefs, who rank 22nd in run defense and have allowed 4.7 yards per carry. In an ESPN standard-scoring system, the Chiefs have given up the sixth-most points to running backs.
The Buccaneers (No. 3 run defense) should be tough the next week, but then McFadden will face four defenses ranked from 21st to 31st against the run, starting with everyone’s get-well opponent, the Saints, and the suddenly sieve-like Ravens.
So before you enter any trade talks, remember why you drafted McFadden in the first place. He has the ability to be a top running back. Ride out the hard times, kick back in your Adidas and watch Run DMC rock.
WEEK 8 OUTLOOK
Byes: Bills, Bengals, Ravens, Texans.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Saints at Broncos: Two top-10 offenses figure to go back and forth.
GAME OF THE MEEK
49ers at Cardinals: Two top-10 defenses figure to go back and forth.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Chargers QB Philip Rivers: If you have to play him, the Browns’ 26th-ranked pass defense is a good matchup.
Dolphins RB Reggie Bush: The Jets are 30th in run defense. Bush should improve on his 61 yards from their first meeting.
Steelers WR Mike Wallace: The drops are frustrating, but the talent is there and so is the matchup (Redskins).
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
Lions QB Matthew Stafford: Don’t expect a bounce-back game against the Seahawks, who have allowed six touchdown passes.
Rams RB Steven Jackson: He finally scored Sunday, but the Patriots are allowing 3.3 yards per carry and have given up three rushing touchdowns.
Panthers WR Steve Smith: He has four consecutive games with single-digit scoring. Don’t expect a breakout game against the Bears.
LAST WEEK’S PICKS
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB Andrew Luck: 186 yards passing, 2 TD runs
RB Doug Martin: 122 total yards, TD
TE Dustin Keller: 93 yards, TD
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
QB Christian Ponder: 58 yards passing, TD pass
RB Mikel Leshoure: 83 total yards, fumble
RB Shonn Greene: 88 total yards, TD