Darren McFadden Will Run Wild vs. Carolina Panthers in Week 16

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball against the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Darren McFadden's 2012 season performance thus far can best be characterized as hot and cold. Quite frankly, to this point, Run DMC has been a fantasy owner's worst nightmare.

One week, the Oakland Raiders running back is lighting up a defense for 100-plus yards and the next he's being held to under three yards per carry or out with a bum ankle.

But before you get set to pack away McFadden for the offseason, understand that he is set to take on one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses in the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon. Yes, the Panthers rank only 17th in fewest rush yards allowed and 20th in fewest yards per attempt, but don't let those statistics fool you.

The truth is, only seven other teams in the NFL are giving up more fantasy points per week to opposing running backs than Carolina. The Panthers have surrendered 100-plus rushing yards in seven of 14 regular season games this season and three times in their last five games.

On the other side, McFadden has carried the ball 41 times for 162 yards over the past two weeks and also has six receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown during that time.

So, after being let down all year by Run DMC, why bench him now?

There's a huge potential for McFadden to pay off for fantasy owners in Week 16 when he and the Raiders come storming into Charlotte.

McFadden is going through a rare hot stretch after weeks of being cold. The fact that he has strung together back-to-back outings is even more encouraging for fantasy owners. After missing an entire month, McFadden is back and ready to shine for the second straight week against a below average front seven in Carolina. 

Unlike other top-notch backs, Run DMC also presents a major threat as a receiver out of the back field. He has 241 yards on 37 receptions so far this season, scoring for fantasy owners in more ways than one.

Just days after touching the ball 34 times against Kansas City, expect Darren McFadden to run wild on the Panthers this weekend. Even if Carolina limits his big plays, he is sure to get enough carries to make a difference for fantasy owners looking to get ahead in their league championship matchups.


Week 16 Projection: 25 rushes for 112 yards and one touchdown; three receptions for 20 yards


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