Raiders Won't 'Baby' McFadden
Even with his miserable injury history, this is no surprise. McFadden is the focal point of the Raiders' run-first approach, and with former backup Michael Bush leaving for Chicago, the Raiders will need McFadden to carry the load. In addition to not being babied, the Raiders will also be using the speedster as their main goal-line running option. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp told reporters that he's always been a supporter of using your lead back as your goal-line back. McFadden should see a nice spike in touchdowns, as the bigger, more physical Michael Bush had been hogging the goal-line opportunities the past the few years.
McFadden attributes his injury history to bad luck, as he claims to always be in great shape and always work hard. "If anyone has any answers as to how I can avoid getting hurt with these fluke-type injuries," McFadden said, "I'd love to hear them." You couldn't expect him to say any different, but if his injuries truly are of the "fluke-type," letting him run rampant this season is even more of an obvious decision.
After missing 9 games last season with a foot injury, McFadden has looked as explosive as ever this preseason. There are obviously no lingering effects from any of his previous injuries, and he continues to impress both on the practice field and the game field.
There may be a bit of bias coming as a Raider fan, but if McFadden can play all 16 games this season, he could easily be the fantasy football MVP. Keep in mind he was leading the NFL in rushing yards before getting hurt last season (102 yards on only 18 carries per game). With no proven backup and an offense that runs everything through his legs, McFadden could be in for a monstrous year. The only thing keeping him from a top five average draft position is his injury tendency.
If you're a life-on-the-edge kind of fantasy GM, take McFadden with your first round pick, and you can expect either the best or the worst all season long.