Fantasy Football 2012: Darren McFadden Will Be This Year's Top Back

Daniel Mano HerberholzCorrespondent IApril 16, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders tosses the ball away after scoring on a two yard touchdown run against the New York Jets in the first quarter during an NFL football game at the Coliseum September 25, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Oakland Raiders feature back Darren McFadden is dubbed "Run DMC" due to his tremendous skills, and he will be the best fantasy running back in 2012.

I know what you're thinking, that he didn't make it through last season unscathed.

To say he can't compete over a long stretch is to get caught up in the old game of "What have you done for me lately?"

McFadden rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his three years at Arkansas. Furthermore, his production topped out at 1,830 yards on 325 carries. Obviously he can sustain a full season getting the ball handed to him time after time.

The common view of DMC going into 2012 is severely affected by the way Raiders head coach Hue Jackson talked about DMC's injury last year and when the tailback would return.

Rather than admit that McFadden would possibly be out for the entire 2011 season, Jackson kept everyone wondering from week to week.

The now-gone coach treated it like a tool to distract opponents from preparing for backup Michael Bush. That was a little silly, because by Week 12 it became pretty obvious that McFadden wasn't going to hit the field anytime that season.

Since then, the perception is McFadden is too injury-prone to be the answer in Oakland.

But while DMC has missed games each season as a Raider, he still has suited up for at least 12 games a year in his first three seasons.

After Lane Kiffin was fired early in McFadden's rookie year, Tom Cable took over the Raiders' coaching duties.

Cable wasn't exactly a McFadden fan, but eventually saw DMC's talent and let him start 13 games in 2010. That season he surpassed 1,000 yards, and began to show what he was made of.

He could burst left, he could power right, he could rumble through the middle or break quick through a pack of defenders.

The first weeks of 2011 looked even better. DMC cranked out 150-plus rushing yards in Weeks 1 and 3, and in Week 2 he compiled 143 combined yards rushing and receiving.

At that point, he was getting serious consideration as one of the best backs in the NFL.

Three solid weeks later, he was still in the top five in rushing yards on the season. Unfortunately, then came the foot injury sustained against the Kansas City Chiefs. Later confirmed as a Lisfranc injury, it kept him out the rest of the year.

However, Run DMC will return with a vengeance in 2012—and this time he'll have the help of former Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer to take the pressure off the run. 

McFadden is fast. He can split two defenders like they were two people going Dutch on a date. He can dart across the field like a flash of lightning.

McFadden is powerful. He can stick his arm out and reject a tackler. He can shrug linebackers off without much of a problem.

The guy can do it all.

And for those who select him in a fantasy draft, he'll show the owners who doubted him some serious pain.