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2012 Draft Prep: McFadden the ultimate risk/reward

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Darren McFadden knows what you think of him. He hears the whispers of being called fragile and weak. In your view, porcelain dolls have a better chance of staying healthy compared to the Raiders running back.

McFadden is five years into his NFL career and has yet to play a full 16-game season. He has missed 19 of a possible 60 games, and last year was his worst season of all with only seven games played thanks to a Lisfranc injury in his right foot.

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But he's back this year at 100 percent, and his goal is to dominate the NFL. We believe in McFadden, and the prediction here is he will have a career year.

"I just want to come out there and pick up where I left off at," McFadden recently told the local Oakland media. "The type of injury that I had was something that set me down for a long time, but a lot of people may think it is hard to bounce back and get back in the flow of things. Once I am back out there on the field, I feel like I am at home, so I will just go out there and try to pick up where I left off."

Where McFadden left off in 2011 was impressive. Prior to going down, he had 113 carries for 614 rushing yards and four touchdowns and 19 catches for 154 yards and one touchdown. He was averaging 14.3 Fantasy points per game, which would have made him a Top 10 running back if he kept up that pace.

McFadden has been a beast when healthy. He has averaged 88.5 rush yards and 33.0 receiving yards over his last 20 starts with 15 total touchdowns -- all with Michael Bush there. Bush is gone now, signing as a free agent with the Bears, and McFadden's touches could actually increase given the lack of quality talent behind him with unproven commodities in Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones.

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But the biggest issue with McFadden as we all know is health. Can he stay on the field? His best season to date was 2010 when he played 13 games and finished with 223 carries for 1,157 yards and seven touchdowns and 47 catches for 507 yards and three touchdowns. Fantasy owners would take that production in a second, and if he managed 16 games the stats would be phenomenal.

"I think we all understand that he's an explosive playmaker for us, and we need him to be healthy for an entire season," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.

McFadden feels great now at the start of training camp, and he said he doesn't plan to alter his running style to protect himself from injuries. Fantasy owners will still fear McFadden, but if you want to win championships sometimes you have to gamble on talented players and hope they perform.

McFadden certainly falls into that category. He knows what he's capable of when he steps on the field, and he hopes this is the year he sheds the injury-prone label.

"It is one of those things where it happens in football," McFadden said of getting hurt. "I can't say I am unlucky about it. I am a very blessed person to even be playing in this league, so for me I just go out there and take it one day at a time. I can't control injuries. If I get hurt, I am going to get hurt going hard. So it's something I can't control, and I am not going to go out there and play to not get hurt."

McFadden's Average Draft Position at the start of training camp is No. 11 overall. He is being drafted as the No. 7 running back behind Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Ryan Mathews, Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew. That's the right spot for McFadden to go. He has elite talent and if he plays close to a full season, he could easily be a Top 5 running back.

There is risk involved with drafting McFadden, but if he rewards you with a significant amount of games played then you could be looking at a possible Fantasy championship.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Michael Bennett misses Seahawks' workouts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:40 pm ET) Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett missed the opening of the team's strength and conditions workout on Monday.

The two-week program is voluntary for veterans, so Bennett won't be punished for missing it. The Seattle Times reported that Bennett was not satisfied with his contract. Bennett is in the second year of a four-year, $28.5 million contract. 

A source told the Times that Bennett won't report, because he wants the team to renegotiate. 


Dolphins waive OG Davonte Wallace
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(7:55 pm ET) The Dolphins waived offensive guard Davonte Wallace on Tuesday, the team announced.

Wallace, 23, has yet to appear in an NFL game over the last two seasons.


Raiders move Taiwan Jones to running back
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:14 pm ET) After spending the last two seasons as a cornerback, the Raiders will move Taiwan Jones back to running back this season, reports CSNBayArea.com.

Jones was drafted in 2011 as a running back out of Eastern Washington. He has been playing in the defensive back field since the 2013 season. Jones missed 15 games last season with a foot injury.


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by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:27 pm ET) Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he is pleased the team was recently able to add veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree, reports CSNBayArea.com.

"It's great to have Michael on board," Del Rio said. "Obviously, he's a guy that's been a productive player on a real good team the last several years and comes in here eager to join our organization and become a good teammate and to find his way and create a role for himself. So, he's a guy that has an outstanding catching radius, a real good understanding of how to get himself open and find some of the soft spots in a defense. He knows how to go up and make the contested catch and those kinds of things. We feel good about being able to acquire Michael."

Crabtree is trying to rebound after a disappointing 2014 season where he caught 68 passes for 698 yards and four touchdowns.


Ravens sign LS Patrick Scales to exclusive rights tender
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) The Ravens signed long snapper Patrick Scales to his exclusive rights tender, the team announced.

Attorney: Greg Hardy seeks to have domestic charges expunged
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(5:34 pm ET) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has filed a petition to have domestic violence charges expunged from the record, according to his attorney per the Charlotte Observer.

The process to have the charges removed could take up to four months.

"Every day Americans who have misdemeanor charges dismissed file for expungement of the charges from their record," said Chris Fialko, Hardy's attorney.

Hardy has the charges against him dismissed in February after his accuser and ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder was unable to testify in a jury trial. Holder received a settlement from Hardy in an undisclosed amount, according to prosecutors.


Stephen Jones: Cowboys' Tony Romo will have big year
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:50 pm ET) Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones is optimistic about his team's quarterback for the upcoming season. 

In an appearance on Dallas' KRLD-FM radio, Jones predicted that Tony Romo will have a career year. 

"No question in my mind," Jones said. "I think he keeps getting better. I actually had a visit with him ... and he said he's felt as good as he has felt in years, in terms of his off-season and how his body feels and the work that he's doing. The last couple of years he has been dealing with off-season surgeries and some uncomfortable things. But he said he thinks he's ready to have the best year he's ever had."


Chiefs waive CB Shaquille Richardson
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:46 pm ET) The Chiefs released cornerback Shaquille Richardson on Tuesday, the team announced.

Richardson was signed to a one-year deal in February. He has never appeared in an NFL game.


Cowboys sign Lance Dunbar, Chris Jones to tender offers
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:43 pm ET) The Cowboys signed running back Lance Dunbar and punter Chris Jones to their restricted free agent tender offers Tuesday, reports The Dallas Morning News. The offers were for $1.542 million.

Jerrell Freeman skipping Colts' voluntary workouts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:29 pm ET) Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman was a no-show at the team's offseason workouts that started on Monday.

Freeman is a restricted free agent and still hasn't signed his offer from the team, per the Indy Star. The Colts offered a one-year $2.35 million deal that would require a second-round pick as compensation from any team that signs Freeman. 

Freeman has until Friday to get an offer from another team. The Colts workouts are voluntary, so there will be no penalty for Freeman missing them.


 
 
 
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