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McFadden to Rebound w/ a Better Second Season in Fantasy?

Pro Football Weekly’s Mike Wilkening wrote an interesting piece on Darren McFadden:

I selected Raiders RB Darren McFadden in the fourth round of PFW’s 14-team office league draft last season. In retrospect, it was a mistake; McFadden rushed for only four TDs. Even more frustratingly, he made just five starts and missed three games because of injury.

I gambled on McFadden’s prodigious talent, and I lost. It is not the first time I was disappointed by a young player, and it will not be the last, for I intend to play fantasy football for many, many years to come, and if you simply stick to proven veterans … well, what is the fun in that?

But along the way, there will be opportunities to steal second-year players whose draft stock will plummet because of their play in Year One, and McFadden could very well fit into that category this season.

Why haven’t I given up on McFadden? Let me count the reasons:

• The price will be right. No one is going to rush to draft a back who disappointed as a rookie and who plays for an offense that mustered only 22 TDs last season. McFadden will be drafted as a No. 3 or No. 4 back. If he pans out, you will look smart; if he struggles again, you can turn to other options.

• The talent factor. Not to dwell on this, but he’s one of the league’s fastest backs, and he dominated SEC competition at Arkansas. He flashed tremendous ability at points last season, never more so than in Week Two, when he rolled up 164 yards on 21 carries in a win at Kansas City. In the ’09 preseason opener vs. Dallas, McFadden gained 63 yards on just four carries, highlighted by a 45-yard burst off the left side of the line.

• His competition for carries isn’t overwhelming. Justin Fargas(notes) may begin the season as the starter, but he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. Michael Bush(notes), a solid between-the-tackles runner, doesn’t boast McFadden’s playmaking ability.

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