Entering his third season in the NFL, Darren McFadden found himself at a crossroad. He was between the title of bust or bloomer. Everyone knew what Arkansas’ all-time leading rusher was capable of doing, but up to the start of the 2010 season, McFadden had done little to be considered anything but an afterthought. To make matters worse, his situation with the Raiders became even cloudier this summer with the emergence fellow third-year running back Michael Bush; a player that happens to be a former Heisman Trophy candidate as well. In fact, Bush was being drafted before McFadden in most fantasy drafts during the offseason, and had it not been for a tiny (or maybe not so tiny) thumb injury to Bush, it’s likely that McFadden would have been the one left holding his helmet on the sidelines during last week’s shootout with the Arizona Cardinals.
Fate is a funny little thing, however, and now just three weeks into what has turned into a bizarre NFL season thus far, Darren McFadden, the bust, has morphed back into “Run DMC” – the dynamic superstar that we all once marveled at during his college days.
I realize that he’s played only three games this year, and he’s one injury from being back on the sidelines, but even when he was healthy in previous seasons DMC looked far from the player he seems to be this year. In 12 games as a starter throughout the first two seasons of his career, he had accumulated a total of 856 yards while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. That isn’t terrible until you consider the fact that he is already at 345 yards through three games in 2010, which happens to be third-best in the league, and is averaging a nice 4.7 yards per tote.
Maybe it’s a bit premature, but I’m a believer; then again I always was, even when he was the plain old Darren McFadden. His price will obviously be higher now than it was two months ago, but I say it’s time to go buy “Run DMC” while his price is still affordable, because it isn’t going down anytime soon. Although it might sound crazy, I wouldn’t be shocked, and I actually expect him to finish inside the top seven of all fantasy running backs this season.