Raiders fantasy question: Is Darren McFadden a No. 1 running back?

Raiders burning fantasy question:Can Darren McFadden become a reliable fantasy starter this season?

Raiders' top 5 fantasy players

Sleeper: Chaz Schilens

  • Michael Fabiano

Believing in a Raiders player to be a reliable fantasy starter is akin to believing Brett Favre when he says that he wants to retire. You really want to believe it this time, but you just look foolish in the end.

McFadden, though, has the talent that makes him irresistible. And let's be honest, it's way too early to call him a bust after one dinged up rookie season.

There are two things standing in McFadden's road to fantasy superstardom –- other than just being a Raider. Oakland hasn't produced a fantasy-relevant superstar since 2003.

McFadden's other two major obstacles are his health and the Raiders infatuation with Justin Fargas. Raiders managing general partner Al Davis is often viewed as living in the 1970s, so is it really so strange that he would favor the son of the Starsky and Hutch character Huggy Bear?

Probably not.

Fargas is a solid runner, and shows grit like a lot of the old-school Raiders players. But he's not going to be a No. 1 fantasy option. McFadden very well could be.

The Raiders need to get the ball in McFadden's hands as much as possible. Not only is he an electrifying runner, he's a perfect candidate to be a wildcat-type of player, too, like he was at Arkansas.

But you can understand the teams' hesitance because of the injuries. McFadden battled through a turf toe injury and a shoulder injury that required minor surgery during the offseason. McFadden is taking no chances this year, telling reporters at a recent minicamp that he's inserted a steel toe into his shoe.

The biggest boon to McFadden's fantasy prospects could be the signing of FB Lorenzo Neal. The billowing bulldozer has had recent success leading the way for LaDainian Tomlinson and leading the Ravens to the fourth-best rushing attack in 2008.

McFadden can be a No. 1 fantasy back, he just needs the ball.

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