NFL Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Has Darren McFadden Reached His 2010 Peak?

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IOctober 30, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Runningback Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders rushes the football during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 24-23.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Many disgruntled fantasy owners were pushed one step farther towards the edge this week with Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden claiming he was “about 70 percent,” news that caused many to either keep him on their bench, or drop him all together.

And it may have cost them what could be his peak performance of the year.

Darren McFadden has been nothing short of a bright spot for fantasy owners gaining 100 or more all-purpose yards in every game he has played this year, until that hamstring injury.

Moreover, he also has three 100-plus rushing yard games to his credit, and is a viable pass option out of the backfield which bodes well for PPR leaguers.

But is the bubble about to burst on Darren McFadden?

Just like analyzing a stock’s performance, or researching the trends of a stock, fantasy players can often be future analyzed in hopes of either capitalizing on a future performance, or avoiding an inopportune start.

If we then analyze McFadden and his future fantasy value, we may find that he is a great sell-high candidate, with his bubble about to burst as soon as this week.


Darren McFadden’s Five Week High

McFadden’s sudden success, over the past five weeks, has come largely due to the five teams he's faced—none of them a top 10 team, either, at the time of the game or now.

So it’s not as surprising that he gained 145 yards against the 15th ranked run defense (St. Louis) or that he carved up the 29th ranked run defense (Arizona) for 105 yards and a score, or better yet, that he demolished the 30th ranked run defense (Denver) with 165 yards on the ground and four all-purpose TDs—three of them rushing TDs.

But this is a trend that has reached its peak, and the decline of McFadden is on the horizon.


Darren McFadden’s Future Five Week Low

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or mathematician to figure out that Darren McFadden is about to hit a possible fantasy wall over the next five weeks.

McFadden will face, in order:

Seattle (ranked No. 2 vs. the run)
Kansas City (ranked sixth against the run)
Pittsburgh (the No. 1 ranked run defense in the NFL)
Miami (ranked 12th against the run)
San Diego (ranked fourth against the run)

What this future outlook shows, is that his value now could be greater than in a month from now, making him a great sell-high candidate.

In fantasy, numbers don’t lie, but neither does a team’s performance week in and week out. In short, things don’t look good for McFadden.


Rolling the Dice on Darren McFadden

Now, since we’re taking a slight investor approach here, let us assume that some of you are risk takers.

Let’s say you willing to go the distance with Darren McFadden, or better yet, you can afford to do so because you have other high quality players.

Will it work out for you?

After the San Diego Chargers matchup, McFadden’s outlook becomes favorable again, finishing the year against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Denver Broncos, and the Indianapolis Colts before the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

So, by holding onto your investment, you could wind up paying higher dividends in the end.

As you can see, there is plenty to think about when deciding on what to do with Darren McFadden—I personally am a sell-high kinda guy—and whether or not you want to hold onto what you have or sell before it’s too late, the decision has to be one made in haste, since Week 8 is just around the corner.


If you enjoyed this piece, come check out my latest:  WR Week 8 Start Sit: The Big 25 Board column.

And as always, good luck this week everyone!