Darren McFadden Practices For Raiders

McFadden Practices, Looks Good For Raiders

5/15/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) scores on a 70-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the New York Jets at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIREFor the first time since October, Darren McFadden participated in a full team practice for the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday. Head coach Dennis Allen said that McFadden is playing at full speed, and he knows what that looks like; he watched McFadden rip off 150 yards against the his Broncos' defense last year. McFadden was finally able to practice with his new signal caller, Carson Palmer. Considering McFadden's exceptional ability as a receiver, getting those two on the practice field together is certainly a high priority.

As many are aware, we shouldn't get too comfortable with McFadden being on the field. He's played a mere average of 11 games per season since he's come into the league. Though his latest injury, a lisfranc fracture, required no major surgery and is not expected to affect him in the future, he has been nagged by various injuries that have kept him on the sidelines. It's tough to be optimistic about this year being any different. He was said to have bulked up quite a bit last year, but it was allegedly all upper body strength. This explains why he would dish out strong stiff arms and rip through arm tackles, but had trouble moving the pile muscling through well positioned defenders. McFadden's injuries have, for the most part, been lower body injuries, so he needs to really focus on strengthening those legs so he can stay on the field.

With Michael Bush signing with the Bears in free agency, McFadden is as important as ever to the Raiders. After McFadden went down last year, Bush averaged 84 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards per game, including a record breaking 157 rushing 85 receiving yard performance against the Chargers. With Bush gone, there are two backs fighting to be McFadden's primary backup. One is Taiwan Jones, the second year speedster out of Eastern Washington. He didn't get as much playing time last year as expected, especially considering McFadden's absence. He's an incredible talent, but is very raw and unproven. The other option is Mike Goodson, who had a solid 2010 campaign for Carolina (452 yards, 4.4 per carry), but was benched due to fumbling issues (no rushing attempts in 2011). Obviously, McFadden is crucial to the Raiders success in the running game this season.

McFadden has a nice career average of 4.8 yards per carry, and 5.3 since he has become the lead back. He was targeting 1,800 yards last season, and before his injury he was on pace to get within 170 yards of that goal (102 yards per game). If he can stay healthy, I have no doubt that he'll put up some of the best numbers in the league. If you're willing to roll the dice, he'll probably be a great value pick in your fantasy league.
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