Is Darren McFadden Turning Into JaMarcus Russell?

Aug 23, 2010

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No, I don’t expect Darren McFadden to put on a bunch of weight and start sippin’ sizzurp. He is, however, starting to enter Bust Territory. In two seasons McFadden has ran for a mere 856 yards with five rushing TDs. He has salvaged some of his reputation by adding 530 receiving yards, but 1386 total yards should be a single-season output for a guy that ran for 4590 yards (nearly 5000 total yards) with 41 TDs (plus 2 receiving and 7 passing) and became the fourth pick of the 2008 draft.


McFadden missed his second straight preseason game because of a hamstring injury, which is troubling for a guy that has missed seven games in his first two seasons. Not only is he missing the games, but he’s missing practice, which could cement Michael Bush as the Raiders’ primary ball carrier.


Bush was the better runner last year averaging 4.8 yards on 123 carries compared to McFadden’s 3.4 average on 104 carries. McFadden is better at catching the ball out of the backfield, but if he’s not careful, he could find himself relegated to third-down duty. Bush’s size (6’1″, 245 lbs) already makes him a better fit for the tough carries near the goal line. Rock Cartwright could also get some of those carries.


Despite the lofty expectations everybody have for McFadden, he has only topped 74 rushing yards once in his career, and that came in Week 2 of his rookie season. Only twice in his career has he had more than 14 carries. It’s like they don’t even know how to use him.


For some reason McFadden has yet to attempt a pass in the NFL. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he was running the WildHog formation in college, so why not play to his strengths? Makes no sense to me, especially when your starting QB’s passer rating and completion percentage were hovering around 50.


I would love to see McFadden get his act together, but my optimism is wearing thin. That sentiment isn’t shared with fellow fantasy footballers though, as his ADP is 78 (32nd RB). It’s actually a few spots higher than Michael Bush (83, 34). I’m sorry, but the sixth pick of the seventh round needs to offer a little more certainty for my tastes.


Currently I have McFadden as my 43rd ranked RB (click to see my rankings), but that number will go even lower if he doesn’t get his act together. Plus people will start using air quotes when they call him “Run” DMC.


What are your thoughts on Darren McFadden?

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