NFL fantasy football: Darren McFadden worth the risk

Rising fast: Speaking with the “NFL AM” crew, Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen spoke highly of running back Darren McFadden, stating “he’s been extremely explosive throughout camp and in the preseason. He’s very vital to our offense and giving our offense a chance to be explosive and keeping defenses honest.” The fact McFadden has had his share of injury issues was not lost on Allen, but it seems like caution is going to be thrown to the wind and the Raiders are willing to ride the train as far as he will take them. “We can’t baby him. We can’t protect him. We got to go out there and play football and give him an opportunity to carry the ball, and we hope that he’s able to stay healthy,” Allen said.

Run DMC could actually prove reliable given the state of fantasy backs in ’12. (Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

The Arkansas product has been one of the fastest risers in fantasy football circles, carrying an ADP of 15.18,which slates him to be selected in the second round of drafts. Though he is an injury risk, McFadden faces the 12th easiest strength of schedule this season. With so many top-tier backs returning from injuries or holding out, McFadden makes a for a good pick given his expected workload. Just be sure to handcuff him with either Mike Goodson or Taiwan Jones, depending on who cements the backup role.

Locked up: Now that Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been named the starter, he could serve as one of the better fantasy football sleepers in drafts. As NFL.com fantasy expert Adam Rank points out: “The Tennessee Titans will throw the ball a lot more, and he does have the ability to make plays with his legs, too.” In the three games last season where Locker attempted more than one pass, the sophomore quarterback totaled 530 yards to go with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Don’t be swayed by the possible suspension looming for Kenny Britt either. Locker was able to perform without his star wideout, instead connecting with Nate Washington for 307 of those yards and all four scores. Even if it’s not for the full season, having Britt back in the fold will only improve Locker’s fantasy potential. Consider him a No. 2 quarterback with serious upside if he can build off last year’s performance.

Young blood: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson now looks like the favorite to win the starting job this season. Though nothing is guaranteed, the Wisconsin product has been given the nod to start Week 3 of the preseason after racking up four touchdowns and 371 total yards the first two weeks of preseason action. Fantasy football owners will have to take a wait- and -see approach on the rookie, but if he is handed the keys, Wilson could make an interesting bye-week play. His ability to score with his feet will make him very appealing, especially given his thin receiving corps. Wilson won’t be selected in many drafts, but be sure to keep an eye on the waiver wire should you need help at the position.

- Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily

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