Buying or Selling Darren McFadden's Fantasy Trade Value in Wake of Injury

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystNovember 5, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders gets wrapped up by Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of their NFL football game at Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stop me if you've heard this before.

Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is hurt.

In a scene that had to make both fans of the Raiders and McFadden's fantasy owners feel like they were living out the movie Groundhog Day, the fifth-year running back pulled up lame in Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and although head coach Dennis Allen told the Associated Press via Fox News that McFadden wanted to re-enter the game, his day ended after gaining 17 yards on seven carries.

"Darren wanted to be back out there, so that wasn't a case where you risk any further injury," Allen said. "Darren is a competitor, he wanted to be back out there, so we put him back out there. Then came in at halftime, he just wasn't going to be able to do it, so we kept him out the rest of the game."

Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area reports that X-rays and an MRI on McFadden's ankle were negative, and although both McFadden and backup Mike Goodson have been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain, Allen isn't ready to rule either player out for Week 10.

"Darren had an X-ray that was negative, and an MRI, also, that was negative, so we’ll see how he responds this week, Allen said. "We haven’t ruled him out for this weekend’s game. Goodie was at the doctor getting an MRI right now, and I would anticipate he’s in the same boat."

However, if it truly is a high-ankle sprain, that's generally an injury that will sideline a player for four to six weeks, and with the fantasy trade deadline rapidly approaching, the question becomes whether or not fantasy owners should be looking to deal or acquire McFadden.

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For sellers, it's a matter of value. As in you're not going to get any. McFadden wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire before he went down, ranking just inside the top 15 in PPR leagues in fantasy points per game entering Week 9, and given his injury history, it's highly unlikely that you could get any sort of return on your first-round fantasy investment.

For buyers, it's that injury history that would make me very reluctant to offer anything of value for McFadden. This is a player who has never played a 16-game slate in his career, who has missed 19 games over the past four seasons and who suffered a "minor" foot injury around this time a year ago—and then never saw the field again.

Even with an optimistic timetable, McFadden would be lucky to make it back onto the field by the end of fantasy football's regular season, and to this point in his NFL career, McFadden has given us exactly zero reasons for optimism where injuries are concerned.

So, if you're a Darren McFadden owner, it's time to hit the waiver wire, find a fill-in and hope that he comes back sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, much like the beginning of this article, that's an all-too-familiar refrain.