Week Seventeen Analysis: It's been yet another lost season for Darren McFadden. Coming off a career-high 34 touches and a season-best 149 total yards, McFadden totaled just 48 yards on 20 touches in a very favorable matchup with Carolina. He's now scored just once in his last six games, and with Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor under center, his chances of a touchdown will surely be even further diminished this week. San Diego's solid run defense allows just 3.9 yards per carry, and while they've allowed five touchdowns to the position in the last two games, McFadden's just been far too ineffective in Oakland's new zone-blocking scheme to trust.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Darren McFadden is coming off a career-high 34 touches, and a season-best 149 total yards. Still, McFadden's averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, he's only scored one touchdown in his last five games, and he's more fragile than Lindsay Lohan's sobriety. Carolina is essentially the defensive equivalent to McFadden. The best way to illustrate the Panthers' volatility is to look at Michael Turner's two box scores. In one matchup, he totaled 171 yards. In the other, he totaled 14 yards. It's anybody's guess which McFadden will show up, or which Carolina run defense will show up. He's the ultimate risk-reward play this week.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Darren McFadden delivered a very Darren McFadden-like performance against Denver in his long-awaited return. He racked up 36 of his 52 rushing yards on one play, and left early after aggravating his ankle injury. Fortunately, he added a short receiving score before the early exit, and all reports are that it was just a minor tweak. With 10 days between games, it appears that his owners dodged a bullet. Kansas City's porous run defense gives up 152 combo yards per game to opposing backs, and McFadden totaled a season-best 137 against them in the teams' first meeting. It's a plus matchup, but it comes with a ton of risk.
Week Nine Analysis: Darren McFadden rushed for 114 yards last week, but it took him a whopping 29 carries to get there. That 3.9-yard per carry average was a full yard less than what Kansas City was allowing coming into the game, and it was only the second time McFadden's topped 3.0 yards per carry in a game this year. Despite being destroyed by Adrian Peterson last week the Bucs are still only giving up 3.8 yards per carry. McFadden will have to earn every yard, but he has an opportunity to add to his paltry two-touchdown total against a Tampa Bay defense that's given up six touchdowns to the position in as many games.
Week Eight Analysis: When a back as talented as Darren McFadden falls short of 3.0 yards per carry in five of six contests, it's probably time to ditch the zone-blocking scheme. However, common sense continues to elude the Oakland coaching staff, and their square-peg, round-hole approach is killing fantasy teams. In addition to his yardage struggles, McFadden is on pace for just five touchdowns, but he'll have a chance to right the ship this week in Kansas City. The Chiefs are giving up 186 combo yards and a touchdown per game to opposing backs, so as we said about Chris Johnson last week, if a breakout is coming, this is the game.
Week Seven Analysis: In 84 carries, Darren McFadden—a big play running back—has just one rush of over 20 yards. He had 22 such carries in 19 games over the last two years. McFadden's one big gainer this year, of course, was the 64-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh, which remains his lone bright spot in Oakland's new zone blocking scheme. McFadden has averaged just 2.5 yards per carry with his other 83 attempts. Fortunately, Jacksonville is giving up 154 combo yards and over a touchdown per game to opposing backs. It's hard to trust DMC at this point, so instead, put your faith in Jacksonville's defensive ineptitude.
Week Six Analysis: Only seven teams have allowed fewer points then Atlanta and only three teams have scored fewer points than Oakland. This does not bode well for Darren McFadden, who, in previous years, we'd describe as a stud running back, who dominates games despite the ineffectiveness of the rest of the Raiders offense. This year even McFadden hasn't been able to stand above the foul odor that is Oakland's offense, as the Raiders are rated dead last in the league averaging 60.8 rushing yards-per-game. Fortunately, Atlanta's run defense isn't terribly stout, ranking 24th in rushing yards allowed, and plodding runners Alfred Morris and Willis McGahee have topped 100 yards against them. But, how long will McFadden be running, as Matt Ryan posts an early lead against the horrible Oakland secondary?
Week Four Analysis: Last week a long touchdown run masked another lousy day for Darren McFadden in offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's new zone-blocking scheme. Outside of the 64-yard score—which was his first of the season—DMC has averaged just 2.4 yards per-carry with his other 43 attempts this year. Denver is allowing a stingy 3.2 yards per carry to opposing backs, and only two teams have surrendered fewer receiving yards to the position. It took Arian Foster a whopping 25 carries to get to 105 yards last week, and Houston's zone-blocking scheme is a well-oiled machine. McFadden will likely struggle, so close your eyes and pray for another long score.
Week Three Analysis: Through two weeks, Greg Knapp's new zone-blocking scheme appears to fit Darren McFadden like O.J. Simpson's glove. He's averaging just over 2.0-yards per-carry, he's yet to score, and last week his role in the receiving game evaporated. To make matters worse, he now squares off against a Pittsburgh team that's ranked top-five in fantasy run defense in each of the past six years. As expected, the Steelers rendered Willis McGahee and Shonne Greene completely useless in their first two games, and they're the only team that's yet to allow a reception to an opposing back. That spells double trouble for DMC.
Week Two Analysis:Darren McFadden showed just how matchup-proof he really is Monday night. San Diego's defense wisely made him their only priority, and they succeeded in holding him to just 32 yards on 15 carries. So what did McFadden do to counter? He racked up 86 yards on 13 catches, falling just one shy of Tim Brown's team record. It was the 16th time he's cracked 90 combo yards in his last 20 full games, and this week he'll face a Miami run defense that just gave up two touchdowns to Arian Foster. While his rushing output is troubling, I'm sleeping easy knowing that the Raiders will do whatever is necessary to get him touches.
Week One Analysis: Darren McFadden's scintillating preseason served as a reminder of his automatic top-five status any week he's active, and as of this taping, his lower extremities are still intact. McFadden has scored and/or topped 110 combo yards in 15 of the last 16 games in which he's surpassed 15 touches, and his enormous weekly ceiling has reached new heights with the departure of Michael Bush. San Diego is a perennially below-average fantasy run defense, so barring an in-game hang nail, McFadden should roll in the opener.
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