McFadden comes with risk, but also huge fantasy potential

Does the injury-prone Darren McFadden warrant a first-round pick?

Do you feel lucky?

That's what it comes down to with Darren McFadden. One of these years McFadden could play all 16 regular-season games and post monster numbers in a season worthy of fantasy MVP consideration.

As it is, he was pretty good in 2010. He ran for 1,157 yards, gained 1,664 yards from scrimmage, and scored 10 touchdowns in only 13 games. Only Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Jamaal Charles averaged more rushing yards per game than McFadden did. That's right, McFadden's 89.0 yards per game was better than the likes of Adrian Peterson (86.5), Michael Turner (85.7), and Chris Johnson (85.3).

Beyond that, McFadden simply looked a whole lot more comfortable in the Raiders' offense last season. He was aggressive, not timid, and ran as if he knew he belonged, instead of like someone trying to prove he belonged. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry, and his 14 runs of 20 yards or more were the most in the NFL.

Now add in McFadden's ability to catch passes and to score anytime he has the ball, and you've got a bonafide first-round fantasy draft choice. Except … well, there is the matter of the three missed games. In and of itself, that's not a whole lot, but that's 10 now over his first three NFL seasons. There always seem to be more weeks, too, when he's banged up enough to be listed on the injury report or to have his workload limited.

For now, McFadden seems to have fended off the challenge that Michael Bush posed at the top of the Raiders' depth chart last season. Bush vultured 8 touchdowns last year, but a large chunk of his 655 rushing yards (288 yards) came in the three games that McFadden missed.

The Raiders, too, are improving and have an offense-minded head coach in Hue Jackson. If healthy, maybe McFadden posts first-round numbers. But the first round is not the time for "maybe."

Bottom Line:Darren McFadden's injury history makes him too big a risk to select in the first round of fantasy drafts.

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