Don’s DDNTL: Darren McFadden

Run wit' DMC? Might as well at that price…
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall


Death, taxes and injured fantasy stars – these are some of life’s certainties.  


Make no mistake about it, injuries WILL play a major role in fantasy football this year, and the more you know, the better your odds are of hoisting that virtual trophy. That’s where I come in. It’s time for the 2013 Don’s Do-Not-Trust List © (DDNTL): Fantasy Football Draft Edition. As a licensed and practicing physical therapist with years of experience treating a wide spectrum of sports related injuries (and a fantasy obsessed lunatic like the rest of you), I have the skills to steer you in the right direction. 


I’ll be discussing a number of players with injury concerns and whether or not I “trust” them to provide draft day value. To be clear: just because a player makes my list does not necessarily mean he’s not worth drafting; in fact, in some cases you can get great discounts if you pick your spots carefully. Any ADP data is courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com.  While I’ll be covering a lot of players here, if there’s anyone I missed that you want to hear about, feel free to leave a comment or email me at donnypump@hotmail.com and I’ll help a brother (or sister) out. 


More after the jump:


Darren McFadden will forever have a place as one of the poster children of DDNTL. He’s proven repeatedly that he can’t stay healthy no matter how gifted an athlete he is or how hard he works every offseason. He runs with an explosive upright style that looks amazing, but leaves him susceptible to hits to the lower body, thus increasing his injury risk. If you draft him expecting a full season you are crazier than the ghost of Al Davis. I do, however, want to discuss him in a little more detail as I think there could be some potential for good things this year. McFadden missed four games last season with a high ankle sprain, and when he did take the field he was largely unimpressive. McFadden was able to return to the field in Week 14 and played out the remainder of the season, and by all reports has had a quiet and normal offseason.


We’re all familiar with the zone blocking scheme that was ill suited for McFadden’s style, and it blew up in the Raiders’ and fantasy owner’s faces last season. DMC averaged a pathetic 3.3 yards per carry last season, a far cry from the 5.3 mark he averaged the previous two seasons with a power running scheme. This season, the Raiders will return to the power running scheme, and that bodes well for McFadden. The fact that DMC was able to return late last year and demonstrate healthy legs (he carried the ball 30 times Week 15) is a great sign, and an uneventful offseason has him primed and ready entering camp. His current ADP of 33, the 17th RB off the board, isn’t ridiculous either. You’ll be selecting McFadden around the same time as DeMarco Murray, David Wilson, Lamar Miller and Montee Ball, and at this stage I think he’s worth the risk. He’s likely to see more carries than all these guys as DMC is clearly the best player and focal point of his offense. McFadden has shown the ability to make plays in the passing game as well, which comes in handy when your team is likely to be playing from behind. The rub will be his health, and that’s a huge ass rub. Again, much like with Murray I’m not suggesting you reach for him, but I think his going rate justifies the risk. I’ve said it the last two years writing these injury pieces, but I’m one of those dopes who just can’t quit drafting Darren McFadden. He’s on my list and likely won’t play a full season, but you might just enjoy some very productive weeks before his legs fall off.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.