27-Year-Old Running Back – Dallas Cowboys
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Always considered one of the most purely talented backs in the league, injuries have disrupted McFadden's game in every season of his career and may finally have sapped his abilities. When healthy, Mc...
Darren McFadden Contract Information:
Reached a two-year agreement with the Cowboys in March of 2015.
McFadden has agreed to a two-year contract with the Cowboys, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
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|Rushing||Rush Distance||Big Rush Games||Receiving||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
|2014 Proj||26||DAL||Subscribe now to see our 2013 projections for Darren McFadden|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Rushing Stats||Red Zone Runs||Receiving Stats||Red Zone Targets|
|2014 Proj||26||DAL||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Darren McFadden|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Rushing||Rush Distance||Receiving||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Red Zone Runs||Red Zone Targets|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Darren McFadden: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There's little doubt about McFadden's talent, but injuries have interrupted all five of his NFL seasons. In fact, McFadden's missed at least three games every year, and an ankle injury last season limited him to 12. The injury also contributed to a career-low 3.3 YPC last year, but it was the Raiders' ill-fitting zone-blocking scheme that rendered him so ineffective even while he was ostensibly healthy. At 6-1, 218, McFadden prefers north-south power running that allows him to rely on his strength and breakaway speed instead of reading blocks to find running lanes. Fortunately, new offensive coordinator Greg Olson plans to return to that style and tailor the game plan to McFadden's strengths this season. The Raiders also hinted McFadden might be used in a version of the Wildcat this year. McFadden’s offensive environment – a team with a new, unproven quarterback that's likely to be playing from behind in the fourth quarter – is a negative, but don’t forget he's also a quality receiver with 42 catches last year despite missing four games and 47 catches in 2010 despite missing three.
McFadden was off to a strong start last year, totaling 768 yards with five touchdowns before a foot injury ended his season in Week 7. It was only supposed to keep him out a few weeks but was later revealed to be a more serious Lisfranc sprain. At press time, however, McFadden is presumed healthy and expected to be 100 percent for training camp. When on the field, McFadden is one of the most explosive backs, and he’s also developed into a far more powerful runner than when he first entered the league, rarely going down at first contact. Still, he’s never played more than 13 games during any of his four seasons in the league. Oakland let Michael Bush walk via free agency, and the team’s RB depth chart is rather thin, so the team will once again ask McFadden to carry the load. With Bush gone, these duties may now also include goal-line work, where McFadden’s converted 6-of-7 attempts for scores over the past three years. With Carson Palmer now under center and a young WR corps featuring Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, the offense has plenty of potential. There’s some concern with the new coaching staff that will be implementing a zone-blocking scheme, which has proven in the past to be unsuited to McFadden’s strengths. Still, new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp typically uses a run-heavy system, and ultimately, production is unlikely to be the worry when it comes to McFadden. It’s all about how many games he’ll play.
While his teammate Michael Bush was typically drafted higher in fantasy leagues, McFadden ended 2010 as the sixth-best fantasy back, despite missing three full games and parts of others. In all, he totaled 1,664 yards with 10 touchdowns, so his season could have been epic had he stayed healthy. Of course, durability has always been a concern with McFadden, who’s never played more than 13 games in any of his three years in the league, and last season’s 223 rushing attempts were more than he had in his first two years combined. Known as a burner with sprinter type speed, which was evidenced by his NFL-high 14 rushes for 20-plus yards, McFadden also recorded 3.5 YPC after contact, which was the second best mark in football. He’s also developed into one of the league’s most dangerous receivers out of the backfield. Nonetheless, McFadden was given just four goal-line carries, and though he converted three, Michael Bush (13 goal-line attempts) appears to be the team’s main short-yardage option. McFadden carries more risk than most backs who will be drafted early, but he also possesses as much upside as just about any running back in the league.
McFadden followed a poor rookie season with an even more disappointing sophomore campaign, as his YPC dropped from 4.4 to 3.4, and he scored just one touchdown while fumbling five times. He averaged 15.7 touches before suffering a knee injury in Week 4, which sidelined him until Week 10, and he never saw more than 12 carries in a game over the rest of the season. Injuries have been a problem for McFadden over each of his first two years in the NFL, but the former No. 4 pick is going to get another chance as his team’s lead back with Justin Fargas now gone. He’s only been given four goal-line attempts throughout his career, and while he’s converted three of those for scores, Michael Bush figures to dominate short-yardage work. The key here is which back gets the early down work, because the competition is wide open. McFadden has the pedigree and has been mostly productive when healthy. With Jason Campbell taking over QB duties from JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders’ offense should improve immensely. It’s up to McFadden to take advantage of the opportunity.
McFadden got off to a fast start during his rookie season, rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries during a Week 2 game against the Chiefs. Unfortunately, he suffered a debilitating turf toe injury that same game that hampered him for the remainder of the year. He also underwent minor shoulder surgery during the offseason, so his durability remains a question mark. It’s tough to evaluate McFadden’s rookie season since he was playing at far less than 100 percent, but 4.4 YPC and success as a receiver (9.8 yards per catch) reveal potential. The Raiders’ franchise may be viewed as something of a laughingstock, but Tom Cable’s system can be productive for running backs. After Justin Fargas got just 3.9 YPC last season, his days as the team’s starter should be over. Of course, Michael Bush ran for 177 yards with two scores during Week 17 in Tampa Bay in a must-win game for the Bucs, so it’s not like McFadden is without competition for touches. McFadden isn’t ideal as a goal-line back, but he did convert both opportunities there last year, and the Raiders didn’t select him fourth overall in the draft not to give him significant playing time. If healthy, McFadden displays terrific speed and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Since he’s also likely to be a big contributor as a receiver, there’s plenty of upside here.
McFadden racked up nearly 5,000 yards with 43 touchdowns during his three seasons at Arkansas, getting 5.8 YPC in the process, and because he shared backfield duties with Felix Jones, he enters the NFL far from overworked. McFadden is the total package, combining size (6-2, 215) with tremendous speed (4.33 in the 40) and quickness. Extremely athletic, McFadden also possesses good hands and change of direction skills. However, his legs are a little thin, and questions remain about how great of a tackle breaker he'll be. Although he was probably the best pure talent in the NFL Draft, off- field concerns shied some teams away. While Oakland had four capable backs on its roster before drafting McFadden, the Raiders are actually a pretty good landing spot. Dominic Rhodes was cut, and LaMont Jordan likely will be. Michael Bush (leg) is still a huge question, and Justin Fargas has a history of injuries. Owner Al Davis is enamored with McFadden's ability, so there's no way the team took him fourth overall not to give him plenty opportunity to play. Although often compared to Reggie Bush, McFadden is more of a conventional running back who can run between the tackles, and coach Lane Kiffin plans on treating him as such and lining him up in I formations. The Raiders called the fourth-most run plays in the NFL last season, and no matter who lined up in the backfield, they often ended with success. That's due in large part to Tom Cable's fantastic system, which led to the sixth-most rushing yards in the league. JaMarcus Russell is still a work in progress, but the additions of DeAngelo Hall and Javon Walker should lead to an improved Raider team regardless. McFadden still needs to work on his pass blocking, he's had trouble with fumbles in college and he'll be in somewhat of a timeshare, but combining Oakland's successful running system and his physical gifts, there's quite a bit of upside.