What Darren McFadden's Absence Means for Fantasy Owners, Raiders in Week 11

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent INovember 15, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Running back Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders rushes for a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter on October 28, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Oakland defeated Kansas City 26-16.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden isn't likely to play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, so what does it mean for his team and fantasy football owners?

Via Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times on Wednesday:

RB Darren McFadden still in a walking boot, coach Dennis Allen said. Allen still considers McFadden as questionable for Sunday's game.

— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) November 14, 2012


Corkran reported again on Thursday:

Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson not at practice today.

— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) November 15, 2012


As much as McFadden would like to suit up and get out there on the field, these reports don't bode well for his return in Week 11.

The Raiders have been playing without McFadden since he was injured in the team's Week 9 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  

Let's take a look at how his continued absence affects the Raiders and fantasy football owners.



In McFadden's stead, Marcel Reese and Jeremy Stewart struggled against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10, totaling just 70 yards on 20 carries against the No. 26 run defense in the NFL. 

Neither runner is as physically gifted as Run DMC. That said, both are capable of hitting a hole and gaining a handful of yards when the lane is open. 

This week's matchup against the Saints would seem like one the Raiders could exploit, given the fact that the Saints feature the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL, giving up 162 yards per game. 

Unfortunately, the Raiders have been atrocious this season at running the ball. 

This team has only averaged 76.7 rushing yards per game—the second-worst mark in the NFL. Whether it's McFadden, Goodson, Reese, Stewart or Taiwan Jones, it's tough to make a big impact on the game when the Raiders' offensive line isn't opening up holes to run through. 

McFadden has only had two games all season where he rushed for 100-plus yards. He's also only scored two touchdowns. So, while it's true that he is capable of breaking off huge plays in both the running game and the passing game, he hasn't been doing much of it all season long. 

His absence will be felt, but it's not like the Raiders are losing Adrian Peterson here.


Fantasy Football

Chances are, if you're a savvy fantasy owner, you haven't been banking on McFadden for weeks now. As previously mentioned, he has only broken the 100-yard mark twice this season and has only totaled two touchdowns.

Sure, he was highly touted at the beginning of the season, as many experts counted on a big year from the former Arkansas Razorback star, but the truth of the matter is that he hasn't been a fantasy stud since October of last season. 

If you do still own McFadden and are hoping for a resurgence in the second half, I am here to warn you away from such thinking. 

The Raiders' offensive line has been horrendous all year long as it attempts to adjust to Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme, and McFadden simply can't seem too stay healthy for long. 

Here are three alternatives for McFadden owners to consider for Week 11 and beyond:

  • Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins: Thomas has been seeing more and more action for the 'Phins, and given the recent benching of Reggie Bush, his production will likely continue to increase.
  • Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints: Ivory has tallied at least 50 yards and a touchdown in each of the past two games, and the Saints have recently made a renewed commitment to the running game. 
  • Marcel Reese, Oakland Raiders: Even though the Raiders haven't been doing a good job of running the ball this season, there's a good chance they'll have success against the Saints this weekend. 

Perhaps McFadden will become a viable fantasy star next season, provided he stays healthy, but for now, you're better off looking elsewhere for your points. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 and check out my weekly NFL picks at Pickfactor.com


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