The Oakland Raiders are trying to right the ship after a slow start to the 2012 season, but the team may have suffered a blow in their Week 9 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that could make it much harder for them to get back into the AFC West hunt.
Starting running back Darren McFadden was forced from the game by a leg injury in the first half after gaining 17 yards on seven carries, and according to CBS Sports, the news was mixed regarding its severity.
X-rays on RB Darren McFadden's injured leg were negative, but he will not return to the game, the Raiders announced.— Raiders RapidReports (@CBSRaiders) November 4, 2012
Frankly, any time that fantasy owners hear the words "Darren McFadden" and "injury" in the same sentence, their hearts jump into their throats, and with good reason.
The fifth-year pro, who had gained 628 total yards and scored two touchdowns to this point in the season, has yet to play a full 16-game season in his career, and in a rather ominous coincidence it was right around the same time last year when the 25-year-old went down with a seemingly "minor" foot injury that ended up sidelining McFadden for the rest of the 2011 season.
You can bet the rent that McFadden will be set for an MRI on Monday, but given his extensive injury history, fantasy owners had better prepare for the tailback to be sidelined for a game or two at least.
The most obvious choice to replace him would be backup Mike Goodson, who showed flashes of talent when given the chance in Carolina, but the news of McFadden's injury will no doubt shoot Goodson to the top of most waiver-wire wish lists, making the fourth-year pro tough to acquire.
Fantasy owners of McFadden may also want to take a look at running back James Starks of the Green Bay Packers, who saw his most extensive action of the season in Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals, or Joique Bell of Detroit, who topped 100 total yards with a touchdown even in a secondary role in the Lions win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9.
Granted, none of these options are comparable talent-wise to Darren McFadden, and there's still a very real chance that his injury will turn out to be minor.
With that said, however, this is Darren McFadden we're talking about, and given his history when it comes to getting banged up, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on good news about McFadden's leg.
Odds are you'll turn blue.