According to the Raiders’ first depth chart, Justin Fargas is still the starting running back, followed by Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Furthermore, rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey is listed as a first-team wide receiver opposite Chaz Schilens.
Am I missing something?
McFadden had a terrific offseason and has looked tremendous in training camp. In fact, Raiders coach Tom Cable admitted earlier this month that his team is more effective when McFadden is on the field. Sure, Fargas has a 1,000-yard season under his belt, but McFadden (and Bush for that matter) are far more talented backs.
Fantasy leaguers on NFL.com seem to agree, as McFadden (46.12 ADP) is the first member of the Silver & Black’s backfield being taken in drafts. Bush (152.88) is second, and Fargas (203.71) is listed a distant third. In fact, Fargas is the last “starting” running back being selected through the first week of August.
The fact that Heyward-Bey is ahead of Johnnie Lee Higgins on the current depth chart is less of a shock but a stunner nonetheless. The rookie has been in the news for dropping passes more than making plays at training camp, and he’s still a raw talent at the NFL level. The likely placement for Heyward-Bey’s current starting role is that owner Al Davis wants his top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft on the field from the get-go, not on the sidelines.
Overall, Schilens and Heyward-Bey will warrant no more than late-round consideration in drafts. The same can’t be said for McFadden, though, who is still far and away the best back on the Raiders’ roster despite being listed behind Fargas on the depth chart.
If Fargas does somehow open the regular season ahead of him, just chalk it up to the Raiders being the Raiders.