Darren McFadden, Raiders
I love Run DMC. When utilized properly, he is the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen thinks so too.
Coach Allen told a group I was among at the NFL combine that McFadden represented the toughest matchup he had ever faced as a defensive coordinator while with the Broncos. The problem I see is the zone-blocking scheme employed by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
We've seen McFadden struggle in the zone-blocking scheme under previous head coach Tom Cable. We have also seen McFadden flourish when most recent Raiders HC Hue Jackson came in and catered the line scheme to what McFadden wanted.
A body on a body and a decision to make at the second level via either a chip block from the line or a lead block from the fullback. If you watch, you will see; it's all right there in front of your eyes. McFadden is at his best when he is almost "stiff" through the first level, then gets sprung through the second.
McFadden's acceleration, burst and creativity through the second and third levels is what makes people jump out of their seats, and he needs a hard running start for this to occur. McFadden loves a block on the linebacker to bounce off of and get creative.
He does not like to flow laterally in the backfield and play mind games with safeties before making a "cut-and-go" move. He is far too instinctual.
If you are a McFadden owner, by all means, do not sell now. But be worried.
Best Risky Draft Pick
Doug Martin, Bucs
There was never a question that new Bucs HC Greg Schiano loves a lead-horse back, and as of today, there is no question who the lead horse is as Schiano takes the reins in Tampa.
Doug Martin has more than looked the part, and he's proving himself a fantasy back that would have been worthy of second-round consideration in re-draft leagues. Fantasy owners who took Martin in the fifth and sixth rounds of 2012 fantasy football drafts are feeling like they put on a ski mask and took down the house.
Tampa Bay RB coach Earnest Byner has overseen two different NFL rushing leaders on different teams in the last three seasons, but for some reason, he keeps getting fired. This seems to be Martin's and the Bucs' gain, judging by how the rookie has looked in NFL action thus far.
Byner was axed in 2010 after coaching Chris Johnson to the 2009 title, and he then got the boot in Jacksonville during the Mike Mularkey regime change after MJD put in his 2011 league-leading campaign.
Martin was in on 84 percent of Week 2 snaps in an offense that kept up with the defending champions. Arrows are pointing up everywhere.
Players Making Owners Most Sick to Their Stomach
Michael Turner, Falcons
The guy simply looks slow as molasses and now has a DUI to deal with. If I own both Jacquizz Rodgers and Michael Turner, I am starting Rodgers until further notice.
Steven Jackson, Rams
New HC Jeff Fisher pulled Jackson out of the game for what I thought was a perfectly understandable reaction to scoring a touchdown—spiking the ball.
Apparently, the replacement officials saw things differently and flagged Jackson like he was a malcontent complaining about a bad call. Whether there is a groin injury here or not, I do not like it that Fisher would feel Jackson is replaceable enough to make this sort of example out of.
You do not bench your "best player" for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty early in the game. Maybe Fisher doesn't think Jackson is the Rams' best offensive player.
Fred Jackson, Bills; Matt Forte, Bears
What's even worse than the fact that these guys will be out of your lineup for the next critical few weeks is that they both have backup players who may be more effective in their absence than they would have been while healthy.
You could have drafted C.J. Spiller or Michael Bush in the seventh or 12th rounds of fantasy drafts. It makes me sick to write it, and I don't own either Jackson or Forte in any of my (many) leagues.
This leads to a very slow "easing them back into the game" mentality from coaches and staff upon returning to the field. This is great for the players' long-term health, but it's horrible for their 2012 fantasy prospects.
Chris Johnson, Titans
What on Earth is going on? The tape doesn't lie, and the tape certainly indicates that Johnson does not care about playing football at a high level.
That is not good news for many readers.