Fantasy owners have been waiting for Darren McFadden to emerge into a legitimate starting option ever since his rookie season.
Well, he’ll have his best chance to make good on those expectations now that the Raiders have released Justin Fargas, who failed a physical.
Fargas led the Silver & Black in carries in each of the last four seasons, averaging 187 rushing attempts. A good number of those carries will now go to McFadden, along with fellow backfield mate Michael Bush.
McFadden appears to be the clear favorite to top the depth chart heading into training camp, but he won’t be a featured back.
Instead, owners should expect a committee approach with McFadden seeing more work on passing downs while Bush takes on short-yardage and goal-line duties.
While committees can be difficult to deal with from a fantasy perspective, the release of Fargas means the workload will be split between two runners rather than three. That will alleviate at least some of the week-to-week confusion owners have had when dealing with this backfield in the past.
There is also some real talent and upside with this duo.
McFadden needs to be more durable, but he’s still a young and potentially explosive player with little wear and tear on his body. He’s also an effective pass catcher, averaging better than 10 yards per reception in his career.
Bush has shown flashes of potential when allowed a chance at a prominent role, which he proved last season with a solid 4.8 yards-per-carry average.
Both backs also have the advantage of a favorable FPA rating for 2010. I still don’t think either should be drafted as more than a potential flex starter or No. 3 fantasy back.
After all, we are talking about the Raiders.
But with one less mouth to feed in the backfield rotation, McFadden and Bush should see more consistent work and are now more attractive options on Draft Day.