Fantasy Football: Darren McFadden Leads Revelations from Chargers-Raiders

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2012

Raiders tailback Darren McFadden (13 catches, 18 targets, 86 receiving yards vs. San Diego) accounted for 118 of Oakland's 321 total yards on Monday night.
Raiders tailback Darren McFadden (13 catches, 18 targets, 86 receiving yards vs. San Diego) accounted for 118 of Oakland's 321 total yards on Monday night.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Here are a few fantasy revelations off the Chargers' 22-14 road triumph over the Raiders, the second of two intra-divisional clashes from Monday Night Football.

To view the revelations from Ravens-Bengals, click here.

1, Darren McFadden let the fantasy world know he's back in the coolest way possible

The number just leaps off the page. Against the Chargers, McFadden (118 total yards) caught 13 balls for 86 receiving yards, while being targeted an incredible 18 times—a feat only duplicated by Colts receiver Reggie Wayne in Week 1.

For good measure, McFadden also ran for 32 yards against San Diego, while commandeering 75 percent of the Oakland carries.

Throughout August, I fielded questions from fans and media personnel, wondering if McFadden was too much of an injury risk to draft in Round 1 or 2 of standard-scoring or points-per-reception leagues.

My standard response: While continued health is a promise to no man in the NFL, McFadden's Lisfranc foot injury (which robbed him of nine games last season) was more of a freak occurrence than something that would curtail his chances for success in 2012.

As an opening act, I couldn't be happier with McFadden's production, and he shall remain a top-seven rusher, regardless of scoring rules.


2. The Chargers' running game may be a lost cause without Ryan Mathews

I find it curious the Chargers didn't really go the distance in finding a short-term replacement for Ryan Mathews last month, after the perpetually nicked-up primary back broke his collarbone.

Yes, they signed Ronnie Brown in the offseason—which might have had more impact three years ago—and Curtis Brinkley (42 total yards vs. Oakland) yielded decent production when pressed into emergency duty last year (filling in for Mathews). But still, San Diego really dodged a big silver-and-black bullet Monday night, generating a minuscule 32 rushing yards on the road.

Honestly, I don't know what possessed me to attach a top-40 ranking to Ronnie Brown (31 total yards—five rushing) for Week 1, after news of Mathews sitting out first broke.

Common sense? Meh. Opportunity knocks? Maybe. Getting seduced by head coach Norv Turner's effusive (but nonetheless shallow) praise of Brown? Ugh, that might be it.

Bottom line: If the 30-year-old Brown had any tread on the proverbial tires, he would have logged more than 42 carries as a backup with the Eagles in 2011—and he most certainly would not have been traded to Detroit for Jerome Harrison during that season (the deal was later nullified after doctors diagnosed Harrison with a brain tumor).

Which brings us back to the upcoming slate of games. If Mathews is ready to go against the Titans, that'll put him in the running to be a RB2 or flex starter. But if he should sit another game, there's a zero-percent chance that I'll look to Brown, Brinkley or Le'Ron McClain before identifying the most prominent backs for Week 2.


3. Thank goodness this is a fantasy column...and not a referendum on the Raiders' punting woes

The NFL might want to pump the brakes on the idea of trimming the preseason schedule from four games to two or three. Apparently, a month's worth of exhibition contests still aren't enough time for Oakland to devote reps to emergency long snappers.

How bad were the Raiders special teams on Monday, in their own ballpark?

After Pro Bowl long snapper Jon Condo left the game to injury, his replacement, backup linebacker Travis Goethel, had a shockingly bad time executing crisp deliveries on Oakland's home-turf blend of natural grass and baseball-infield dirt.

Three poor snaps led to (in order): One pre-punt mauling, one blocked punt/group flogging of Shane Lechler and one punt that never launched...thanks to a long snap that never got off the ground.

From a fantasy perspective, the botched punts didn't play a direct role in the Chargers D/ST scoring, since none of the miscues were immediately converted into San Diego points. However, each screw-up was soon followed by a Nate Kaeding field goal. Kaeding connected on five total kicks for the night.

So, where do go from here?

For the Chargers, Kaeding may be all the way back from a torn ACL last September. 

For the Raiders, they should be expecting a contract negotiation-based call from Jon Condo's agent sometime Tuesday.


4. The Chargers are a little thin in the passing game after Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates

By my count, the following nugget involving Robert Meachem garnered 12 spring or summertime mentions on The Fantasy Blog:

When subtracting a five-game spurt of 21 catches, 346 yards and six touchdowns with New Orleans in 2009, Meachem's averages for the other 57 games were 2.02 catches, 33.73 yards and 0.30 touchdowns.

Meachem's Monday line: Two catches and 49 yards.

can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.