Fantasy Football Sleepers: How You Can Replace Darren McFadden

Kevin CoughlinCorrespondent INovember 8, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 30: Running back Taiwan Jones #22 of the Oakland Raiders rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Darren McFadden’s foot injury is likely a blow teams in everyone’s league, but what is more difficult, from a fantasy perspective, is that his backup, Mike Goodson, is also sidelined this week when Oakland travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.

There is a chance McFadden may still play, as he was spotted in a walking boot at practice Thursday.  However, assuming he is unable to play, these might be a few options that could make an impact as temporary replacements.

Taiwan Jones

The book on Jones is limited, as he is currently behind McFadden and Goodson on the depth chart and has just one carry this season.

In 2011, Jones had 16 carries for 73 yards.  His biggest contribution came against San Diego where he rushed for 39 yards on seven attempts.  At the time, he was splitting touches with Michael Bush, who was also filling in for McFadden.

Jones will get the carries Sunday, but he may not be the most reliable option, particularly against Baltimore.  I would expect to see a larger emphasis on Carson Palmer and the Raider receivers.

Chris Ivory

Ivory looked good this week on Monday Night Football when he stepped in for an injured Darren Sproles.

In his first game of the season, Ivory rushed for 48 yards on ten carries against Philadelphia.  He also scored a touchdown.

A year ago, Ivory was part of a rotating door at running back as the New Orleans Saints employed both Ivory and Sproles, as well as Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram.

New Orleans does not run a lot to begin with, but even with those shared touches, Ivory ran for 374 yards in six games.  He put up a good chunk of those numbers in Week 17 against the Carolina Panthers, where he rushed 19 times for 127 yards and a touchdown.

At the moment, Sproles is unlikely to play Sunday, so Ivory could be worth a look again this week.

Jacquizz Rodgers

The man with the best name in football looked like he might replace the aging Michael Turner earlier this season, but that has not been the case.

That does not mean that Rodgers has not been incorporated into the Falcons’ offense.

Rodgers has been great out of the backfield this year, with receiving totals of 35, 40 and 53 yards in games so far.  He was particularly involved this past week against the Cowboys.

Although his only touchdown was in Week 3 against San Diego, he has gotten the nod near the endzone and has the ability to be a band-aid if necessary.

Shane Vereen

In his second year, the New England Patriots’ young running back is finally starting to see some work.

Over the last two games, Vereen has 15 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.  He also has two catches for 27 yards.

New England is another place with a flavor-of-the-month running game, but at least they are finally starting to use a running game. 

However, Patriots’ offensive-coordinator Josh McDaniels loves to have Tom Brady throwing screens to his running backs and Vereen fits in that role well.

Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead are guys who can do all of the same things, but if they are unavailable Vereen could be a sleeper this week against a Buffalo Bills team that is nearly last in rushing defense.