Darren McFadden Injury: Fantasy Owners Should Not Abandon Hobbled RB

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IINovember 5, 2012

November 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) stands on the field before the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE

Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden has had a rough season and suffering a sprained ankle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was yet another setback. But fantasy football owners should not lose faith in the talented rusher.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the following regarding McFadden’s injury: 

Raiders RB Darren McFadden suffered a high ankle sprain on his first carry of the game, played through it before aggravating injury later. McFadden is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday and is considered week to week for now.

If the former first-round pick misses time, it will be tempting to trade him away. But before making a rash decision and pulling the trigger on any deal involving McFadden, it is important to evaluate his fantasy worth.

McFadden’s fantasy owners have already had to lower expectations for him this season. Those who drafted him to be their No. 1 running back had to reform the way they value him long before this injury.

He is averaging only 3.3 yards per carry and has reached the end zone just twice this year. Any hope of McFadden becoming a dangerous receiver out of the backfield after he caught 13 passes in the season opener faded quickly, and he has not reeled in more than four receptions in any game since then. 

Currently, McFadden’s 67 fantasy points in ESPN leagues ranks 19th among all running backs. He has performed as a low No. 2 RB or an excellent flex option. 

This is how fantasy owners should value him when considering trade offers. If you are lucky enough to receive an offer that would land you a top-10 back like Frank Gore or Trent Richardson, then by all means, abandon McFadden.

But in all likelihood, McFadden’s fantasy owners are dealing with the nuisance of low-ball offers due to this injury. Unless McFadden’s ankle proves to be a serious long-term problem, the Raiders running back should not be traded for lesser players. 

His job as the starting running back is not in any danger, and when he is healthy again, he will continue receiving nearly all of the Raiders’ carries. His matchups from Week 13 through Week 16 are against the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers

All of these teams, excluding Denver, rank in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards allowed per game. As a feature back going against mediocre run defenses in playoff-centic weeks, McFadden still has fantasy value.

If he is able to get back on the field in the next couple of weeks, he will still be a reliable starting running back and a must-play option in leagues with flex spots. There is no reason for McFadden’s owners to panic and he should be right back in most lineups once he is healthy again.