Player Profiles

You Need to Draft Darren McFadden. I Promise I'm Not Crazy.

By August 14, 2014No Comments

I promise I haven’t lost all my marbles. In fact, I think I’m finally seeing clearly.

Listen, I didn’t want to write this article. In fact I’m pretty sure my computer didn’t want me to either. It kept restarting and not loading pictures of McFadden as I clicked on them. A sign to stay away.

However history tends to repeat itself, and many would say I’m back to get burned again.

But this time, it feels different.

I haven’t fallen in love with Darren McFadden. He hasn’t lulled me into a sense of security, I haven’t ignored my concerns about his health or his ability. In fact, I think I’ve finally accepted McFadden for what he is.

For fantasy football owners in 2014, Darren McFadden is a value. And a great value at that.

Darren McFadden’s Current Value

Forget about the fact that MJD is there, at least temporarily. What has me so fired up about McFadden is simply his current draft day price.

It’s August and fantasy mock drafts are in full swing, with more and more people getting involved by the hour. However what I’m seeing is that McFadden’s value is actually dropping.

According to Fantasy Football Calculator, for a standard 10-team league, McFadden is being drafted as the 5th pick in the 12th round.

Darren McFadden Fantasy Draft Value 2014
I’m sorry but that’s stupid for a guy who could become the starter.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s going to start as a RBBC (which are the worst words a fantasy owner can hear) but he can win that backfield, or at least enough of it to provide you with some bench running back depth.

Things to Love About McFadden

Okay, so love may be a strong word to use for Darren McFadden but there are things you have to like.

The guy was a former 3rd overall NFL draft pick (irrelevant), is only 26-years-old, and showed us in 2010 what he’s capable of.

What many people are failing to realize about McFadden is that he is a young, talented back that can return value in 2014. He has the ability to catch the ball well and has the chance to make fantasy noise being the 44th running back off the board.

He’s practically free for that price for crying out loud.

He’s also not anywhere near MJD’s draft day price. MJD is currently being drafted in the 8th round as the 32nd running back off the board. I think there is in no way, shape or form that there should be 12 spots between the two.

Let’s be honest with each other, drafting McFadden doesn’t come with risks. We all know that he carries baggage, but with a 12th round pick I’ll take the baggage.

Part of the bias against McFadden is that we all remember the high prices we used to pay for him. Now that we are all so down on him, his ADP has come full circle.

This chart is courtesy of RotoViz and shows McFadden’s ADP and his value in respective years.

Darren McFadden 2014

With his ADP dropping to where it is, I think it’s time we realize his possible return-on-investment.

If you’re worried about MJD sharing too many touches and being in the way, just keep in mind that in 2010 and 2011 McFadden finished within the top-10 RB’s in point-per-game finishes while still losing a decent amount of goal-line and early-down work to Mike Bush.

Things to Hate About McFadden

Darren McFadden is injury prone. He’s crushed the hearts of millions of fantasy football fans in the past and has left them hating his guts.

In 2013 McFadden missed 6 games to injury and he has never played a full 16-game season. With that in mind the Raiders brought in MJD to complement him.

With MJD in the mix, many have become concerned about a RBBC. It’s a justifiable concern, and one that is supported by comments from head coach Dennis Allen. He said, “They understand that both of them are going to get an opportunity to play, both of them are going to get touches and they're competing really hard. It's important for both of them. Both of them want to be the starter. They wouldn't be good football players if they didn't want that."

Clearly there will be some sort of timeshare in Oakland. Even if MJD gets hurt and/or doesn’t produce like expected you need to keep your eyes out for Latavius Murray.

At the very least two running backs will be sharing fantasy points in Oakland, with the possible threat of a three-headed monster.

With only so many touches to go around, it’s fair to wonder if McFadden can produce enough to be valuable.

I believe that at a 12th round price he will be. If he’s not, I’ll barely even notice.

What to Do With Darren McFadden in 2014

Before you scream at me for recommending a guy who has broken my fantasy heart and destroyed so many others, hear me out.

You have a chance to draft a former top-10 running back for the price of a 12th round pick. Look, he’s not the same as he used to be. But he’s still an NFL running back and I’ll take the chance that he might get hurt again. You’re not drafting him as a starter. He’s simply a lottery ticket at this point.

Darren McFadden has already broken my heart once and I’m sure he’s broken yours. He’s no more a sure-thing than anyone else at this point in the draft.

If you hit on Darren McFadden your team is going to take off. If he disappoints, it’ll be like nothing ever happened.

I’m advising you to put your past heartache away and take one last chance with the man that’s already been given one too many.

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Nick Schreck