Darren McFadden: Can You Trust Him?

McFadden is ready to carry the load this season (raider4life.com)

Heading into this year’s fantasy football season there are two questions looming owners everywhere; should I draft Adrian Peterson? Or should I draft Darren McFadden?  As far as people concerns towards Adrian Peterson go, I have already given my perspective on it in a previous article, and now is time for my take on Darren McFadden.

Last year when McFadden went down with a so called “simple” foot injury, owners everywhere believed McFadden would miss hardly any time at if, if any.  Yet, we were all sadly mistaken once we eventually found out that McFadden was suffering from a Lisfranc sprain, which is quiet more severe than a simple sprain.

Without getting to into the medical diagnosis of the injury, Lisfranc injuries often do damage the cartilage of the mid-foot joints.  Since the cartilage is the piece that allows the joints to move smoothly over the bones, when damaged can cause excruciating pain when any weight is bared on the foot, never mind running.  This sort of injury often requires surgery, but when surgery is not the path chosen, the proper healing regiment needs to be put in place or long-term injuries can linger from this.  Unfortunately the best recovery is nothing but rest and wearing a protective boot for duration of about 6-8 weeks.

While that may have been bad news last year, this year that news is great because last season into this off-season, McFadden has gotten plenty of rest.  In fact, the bleacher report has reported that he and the Raiders expect no mishaps this season from last season’s injury, and that he is a full-go for OTA’s and training camp.  Although his Lisfranc injury may be a thing of the past, owners everywhere still may feel a bit of trepidation when drafting him, but why?

Simply put, he is injury prone.  Prior to last season’s injury McFadden has already missed a number of games with hamstring injuries (which I personally know can linger for years and years) and other similar injuries.  Although he has displayed an inability to stay healthy for long periods of time I say who cares, draft him.  Despite his being injury-prone McFadden has plenty of things going for him, especially this year.

For starters, McFadden will be turning 25 just before the season starts, and since he has taken little contact over the last few seasons, he will be fresher than ever this year.  In addition, and quiet often overlooked, McFadden is a spectacular running back.  Last season before he went down, through six games he was averaging 127 yards/game with five touchdowns and was the number one running back in fantasy!  Also, he does not have to share the ball with Bush anymore since he departed for Chicago, leaving McFadden to bear the brunt of the load.  Some may think that is a con, however when the guy who could likely take your spot is no longer on your team, that’s a huge plus in my book.  Then there is Carson Palmer, who is by far the best quarter back McFadden has played with since joining the league.  Now that Palmer is familiar with the team and playbook, I am predicting he has a great season as well taking pressure off of McFadden.

Though he didn’t crack my top-15 list, I still would have no problem drafting him in the late second-third round.  In fact in a few mock drafts I have done, I was able to draft him in the third or even fourth round.  Don’t believe me?  Well, I am not alone on my prediction for McFadden as even other fantasy football analysts are predicting a great season from McFadden.

My Prediction: 1,400-1,500 total yards and 15 total TDs and well worth the draft selection


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