Now that we've taken a look at the various fantasy options on the Raiders, let's home in on each individual player covered so far. In this post we will take a look at where Darren McFadden fits into the overall picture in the first round.
In my mind, there are only four running backs who unequivocally deserve to be taken ahead of McFadden. Those are Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, and LeSean McCoy. One could even make a case for McFadden at the third spot behind Foster and Rice. Johnson will mostly be drafted based on his otherworldly sophomore season, rather than anything he has done recently. Rice and Foster are very safe picks on teams that like to run the ball. Maurice Jones-Drew will also be highly ranked, but I don't believe the Jaguars are good enough offensively for him to keep up his normal high level of production.
McFadden, on the other hand, is the only running back in the group I mentioned whose team offense has significantly improved. He is also one of the last running backs in the upper tier, before you get into the Marshawn Lynches and Steven Jacksons of the world, and those are more suited to be a RB2 than a RB1. McFadden at full strength is a legitimate RB1, and at his best can be the best overall player in fantasy football regardless of position.
Will he remain healthy? Who knows. Maybe. If you draft McFadden it is absolutely imperative that you also draft Mike Goodson later on. The very latest McFadden should be drafted is tenth, and if he had no health concerns the latest he should go is third. This draft is deep enough in running backs (especially with stud rookies like Trent Richardson and horses like Frank Gore available in the third round) that you can afford to take a risk on McFadden early in the first round if you draft there. If you miss out on McFadden, draft Mike Goodson anyway. In the event that McFadden gets hurt, Goodson instantly becomes the hottest trade chip in fantasy football.
My prediction: 1,650 rush yds, 14 TD, 200 rec yds, 4 rec TD
Overall Ranking: 5