Willis McGahee: Fantasy Owners Should Have Faith in Banged-Up Broncos RB

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2012

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18:  Running back Willis McGahee #23 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on August 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

An underrated key to being a successful fantasy football owner is knowing when to give up on a struggling player and knowing when to have faith. 

When it comes to Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee this season, fantasy owners must continue to have faith in the veteran as he battles back from a rib injury suffered last weekend. 

McGahee is expected to play in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, according to the Denver Post's Lindsay H. Jones, which bodes well for the Broncos and countless fantasy owners around the country.

Those same owners should look to start the banged-up back this weekend in Denver.

Skeptical? Well, hear me out.

The Broncos will host AFC West rival Oakland on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders rank 20th in the league defending the run and were the victims of McGahee's best rushing effort a year ago.

McGahee rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns against Oakland last November. He averaged 8.2 yards per attempt in the Broncos' 14-point road win.

Though you shouldn't expect another superhuman performance from McGahee this weekend with Peyton Manning under center for the Broncos, a 100-yard rushing day isn't at all far-fetched. 

The Raiders are even worse defending the pass this season, ranking 26th in the NFL. Therefore, I fully expect Denver to attempt to beat Oakland through the air first. That way the Broncos can establish some confidence in Manning and the receiving corps heading into the stretch run. 

Still, Oakland's problems against the run cannot go ignored by John Fox and the Broncos coaching staff. Dennis Allen's squad is giving up more than 116 yards on the ground per week (more than four yards per carry).

With McGahee getting a bulk of the carries for Denver, he is sure to put up the type of numbers fantasy owners are looking for from him this weekend. I don't envision him bursting onto the highlight reel with another 60-yard run this year, but instead pacing the Broncos ground attack, maintaining his average of 4.3 yards per carry in 2012.

Willis McGahee has battled back from more serious injuries in the past, and he has proven to be among the toughest offensive talents in the game. Have faith in the Broncos running back, and your team shall reap the benefits this weekend. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more fantasy football breakdown, analysis and reaction. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter