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Darren McFadden, I Wish I Could Quit You

Published: June 15, 2013

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Its TrickyDarren McFadden, we need to talk.

I think it’s time we see other people. I don’t know. I’m scared, okay.

It’s not you (secretly it is), it’s me. I just cannot put the work into the relationship to make it last. I don’t play games (except fantasy football).

We’ve had our moments, times were good… briefly.

“Are you breaking up with me?”

I think it may be time.

Although Darren McFadden has shown to be a talented running back, he just cannot seem to stay on the field. At least to this point in his career, he has not been able to get through a full season. As seen in my previous article (Running Back ADP 2012: Where Did They Finish?), running backs with plenty of talent and opportunity found their way into the top 12 in final point rankings. The most common reason for falling out of the top 12 was injury.

McFadden’s best year was in 2010, in which he totaled 1157 yards on the ground, the only time in his career over a thousand rushing yards. On average over his five year career, McFadden has only averaged 556 rushing yards per season. Ten games and 556 per season are not exactly reliable numbers for fantasy football players.

Darren McFaddenLast season under a zone-blocking scheme, McFadden struggled and averaged a meager 3.3 yards per carry (YPC). Before this new scheme Darren McFadden has averaged 4.5 YPC during his pro career in the power-running scheme (TheHuddle.com).

Despite missing three games in 2010, Darren McFadden still finished 6th in non-ppr scoring leagues. The kicker is he averaged an incredible 17 fantasy points per game (FPPG). This number was 2nd only to Arian Foster, who averaged 20.4 FPPG.  Outside of the top three running backs, that’s at least two points higher than the rest of the running back field.

According to Rotoworld’s 2012 Draft Guide, Darren McFadden was the leading running back during the 2011 season, until week 7 in which he encountered a season-ending injury. At 15 FPPG, this was good enough for 7th among running backs. In short, RUN DMC is a number one running back when healthy (and in the right scheme?).

It’s hard to count on him, but if you can afford to take a chance, he may be worth the gamble at his current value. At an averaged draft position (ADP) on fantasyfootballcalculator.com of 3.06 the value is there if he returns to his 2010 numbers.

Darren McFadden ADP (Courtesy FantasyFootballCalulator.com)

2010                       2011                       2012                       2013

111th                      14th                         7th                           30th

Darren McFadden’s Final Point Ranking among Running Backs

2010                       2011                       2012                       2013

6th                           34th                         28th                         ??


Reliability and consistency are qualities that many fantasy football players look for and we know that McFadden has not provided that to this point in his career. Now that his value has dropped to the third round, is it worth it?

Darren mcFadden InjuredWe know that Darren McFadden in shorter spans can be a top running back. When he’s out though, what do we do? Well one strategy is to acquire Darren McFadden’s backup.  Over a four game stretch in 2012, Marcel Reece performed well at 11.4 FPPG; Michael Bush over a whole season in 2011 averaged 11.6 FPPG (McFadden didn’t get hurt until week 7).  In 2010, McFadden finished 6th among running backs, while his backup Michael Bush still averaged 9.6 FPPG. These are essentially RB2 numbers for twelve team standard fantasy football leagues.

Currently on FantasyFootballCalculator.com the first twelve running backs (RB1s) are gone by the second pick of the second round, while McFadden just waits for you in the middle of round number three.

I’m on the clock, palms are sweaty, there isn’t a wide receiver that I’m a big fan of, it’s too early to take a quarterback, and I… 

Take me back Darren McFadden, forgive me for doubting you!

Are you taking a (or another) chance on McFadden this year?

Tweet me @heydangle.




About Andrew Englebrecht

Fairly new to the fantasy football community; I've been playing for 5 years and writing for the last year on and off. I don't get out much, but occasionally I enjoy a nice Belgian brew. I'm a Houston Texans fan living in the suburban wastelands outside of Chicago. I've only seen twelve movies in my life including Hitch, Iron Man 2, and My Cousin Vinny. Once I grow up I'll become a garbage man in Denmark, eat bacon hot dogs, and ride a bicycle to stay in shape.

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