Darren McFadden’s Time to Shine?

Coming into the 2015 fantasy football season, the Dallas Cowboys announced that running back Darren McFadden would be the primary starter. There were many who doubted McFadden could be a starter.

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After all, Joseph Randle had been an adequate back up to former star running back DeMarco Murray, and McFadden’s collegiate shine had definitely diminished during his stay with the Oakland Raiders. Turns out, McFadden turned into the starter. It just took about half of the season for that to happen…

Randle was officially waived by the Cowboys on Nov. 3. He was the primary ball carrier to start the season, and Randle easily saw double the carries of McFadden to start the year.

In Week 3, Randle dominated the Atlanta Falcons, averaging 6.2 YPC and racked up three touchdowns. Unfortunately for Randle, his success was short lived. It became more and more apparent that there was a rift between Randle and the coaching staff, particularly about Randles’ lack of ball security near the goal line. As Randle’s star fell, McFadden started to receive more work by default.

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Darren McFadden Lead Back

So, what can we expect from McFadden in the future? McFadden had an excellent opening game against the New York Giants’ defense. In Week 7 he ran for 152 yard and a touchdown and finished the game with a 5.2 YPC average. Even against a stingy Seattle Seahawks’ defense, McFadden managed 64 yards on the ground. In comparison, Mark Ingram, who is currently rated as the second best running back un standard scoring leagues, managed 74 yards in his foray against Seattle.

Luckily for McFadden fantasy owners, the Dallas Cowboys are coming up against some of the weaker defenses against the rush.

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As you can see, outside of the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills, most of the defenses the Cowboys will face are mediocre at best in terms of defending the run. It’s more likely during Weeks 15 and 16 that Dallas will rely on their passing game, but for most fantasy owners, this will be during a playoff push and not the regular season.

McFadden is running behind one of the strongest offensive lines in the league. The same offensive line that helped make Murray a fantasy stud in 2014. With the Cowboys’ organization putting their faith in McFadden as a starter, he makes the leap from fantasy irrelevance to being a borderline RB1. Players who are lucky enough to have him should hold on to him or leverage him to a desperate owner in need of a running back.

Categories: 2015 Fantasy Football

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