Darren McFadden: Potential Fantasy Replacements for Injured RB

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystNovember 5, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at O.co Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In a scene that's become far too common for both the Oakland Raiders and his fantasy owners, running back Darren McFadden went down with a high ankle sprain in the team's Week 9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, putting his availability for both next week and beyond very much in doubt.

This injury leaves McFadden's fantasy owners scrambling to find a replacement for the player who was likely one of their first two draft picks this season.

As those owners ready for the stretch run, here's a look at a trio of players who should make for an adequate fill-in while McFadden is on the shelf.


Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers

It's been a veritable merry-go-round in the backfield for the Pittsburgh Steelers, with Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall all drawing starts at some point this season due to injuries to one or more of the others.

It was Redman that drew the start last week against the New York Giants with Dwyer and Mendenhall both nursing injuries, and after gashing the Giants for 147 yards and a touchdown, the third-year pro was all smiles according to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated.

I'm not going to sit here and downplay it. We were on the road, and all week we were focused in and we knew that we needed this win. It's a great situation to be in now, because we feel like we're starting to hit our stride. We're ready to keep this rolling.

The Steelers' ground game has been much more effective of late than it was earlier in the season, and while Dwyer and Mendenhall's return could mean a backfield by committee, Redman still likely represents the best option available on many waiver wires.


Joique Bell, Detroit Lions

For those leagues in which Redman is already rostered, Darren McFadden's fantasy owners are going to have to dig a little deeper and that may entail the rather unpalatable option of grabbing a running back who is a backup on his own team.

That doesn't mean there's nothing out there, however.

Second-year pro Joique Bell of the Detroit Lions has emerged as the team's third-down back with Jahvid Best out for the season, and even though Mikel Leshoure piled up three touchdowns in last week's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bell still managed to rack up over 100 total yards and a score while earning the praise of head coach Jim Schwartz according to John Katzenstein of The Detroit News.

"When we played the opener, I think people were surprised to see us put him in on the goal line and get that touchdown," coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. "We sort of had a laugh about that, but the reason is we had confidence in him even in the first game, and he's done nothing but reward that confidence that we've had in him."

Bell has now had over 50 total yards and double-digit touches in back-to-back games, and while his value is much higher in fantasy leagues that award a point for receptions, the 26-year-old is a decent addition for fantasy owners who suddenly have a hole in the backfield.


Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders

You may be wondering why it took me so long to get to in-house replacements for McFadden, but with backup Mike Goodson suffering a high ankle sprain of his own in the loss to Tampa, it's rather unclear just how the situation at running back will shake out for the Raiders moving forward.

Should Goodson be sidelined along with McFadden (a very real possibility), that will probably mean a committee featuring Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece.

The fourth-year pro has only one carry all season, but over the past three games, Reece has 12 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. An increase in touches on the ground plus that ability as a receiver makes Reece the more preferable waiver add to Jones as things stand today.