Posted on: February 25, 2008 3:02 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2008 3:55 pm
If there wasn't enough hype surrounding Darren McFadden, you can add to it the number 4.33 (or 4.27, depending where you read). That was McFadden's 40-yard-dash time at the combine.
How fast is that? It probably took you longer to read the above sentences than it did for McFadden to run 2/5ths of a football field. That's pretty fast.
McFadden has already been flying off of Fantasy mock draft boards. In two drafts I participated in, he was taken within the first 25 picks (including 17th overall by CBS video host Jason Horowitz). And in a 14-team, three-LEAGUE Fantasy SPORT draft (they pick baseball, football and basketball players), fellow Senior Fantasy Writer David Gonos took McFadden in the fourth round.
So already, people are expecting huge things from him. Nevermind the fact that we don't know where he'll be playing, what kind of an offense he'll be playing in, what kind of passing game will complement him and what kind of offensive linemen are blocking for him.
Gotta love the hype that media and highlights can inject into a player. And I'm not saying it's not completely warranted; McFadden is clearly talented and is very fast with great field vision. But there are still some issues -- like the obvious ones listed above -- that need answering before we put McFadden ahead of Fantasy gems like Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Ronnie Brown, Laurence Maroney and maybe even Shaun Alexander.
Part of the reason for the hype is Adrian Peterson's amazing rookie year. A lot of people are calling McFadden "the next AD." They do have a point -- Peterson has been on the radar since his freshman year at Oklahoma, as has McFadden at Arkansas. If anything, McFadden does not have the injury history that Peterson had when he entered the NFL. That makes him more appealing.
But I would be remiss not to think back TWO years ago when a young collegiate dominator was an assumed Fantasy legend without lacing up a cleat. That was when Reggie Bush was taken second overall by the Saints. Just like McFadden this year, Bush was a pre-draft top-24 pick (and back then it was assumed he'd be a Houston Texan with the No. 1 overall choice). How did he work out as a rookie? As a second-year RB?
All I am saying is give McFadden a chance. Let's see where he gets drafted before we make him a No. 2 Fantasy RB with No. 1 upside. The only team picking in the top 10 where I'd be completely comfortable with McFadden going and being a top-25 pick is Atlanta. Every other team has someone there to split reps with.
Our rankings have changed again. You can find the positional rankings here: cbs.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
/rankings and the top 200 here: www.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
Here's what's changed:
Cadillac Williams slides. The Bucs have spoken to DeShaun Foster about signing with them, a clear indication that they're not very confident that Williams will be ready to play in 2008 (there's talk that his torn patella injury is career-threatening). I have a personal interest in Williams; I got to know him when I did his draft diary on NFL.com back in 2004. I'm rooting for him to come back. He's a really good guy with some awful luck when it comes to injuries. Anyway, his value is down on the news.
Donte Stallworth gets cut ... and rises?! The Patriots didn't exercise their option on Stallworth, so it's off to a new team for the speedster with the chronic hamstring. That's a good thing because he won't be playing in Randy Moss' (or Wes Welker's) shadow anymore. Stallworth has the stuff to be a No. 1 receiver for an NFL team and a No. 3 Fantasy WR, if not a little bit higher. Tennessee is a perfect fit for Stallworth, who played collegiately at the Univ. of Tennessee.
Tight end movement. Antonio Gates will have toe surgery and Kellen Winslow had a fourth operation on his microfracture-repaired right knee (scar tissue removal, not a huge procedure). Both of them are iffy for the start of training camp (I believe Winslow is on the NFI list already). Both players remain at 2 and 3, respectively, on our positional list, but they dipped a smidge in the Top 200.
We also failed to consider Todd Heap's potential in Cam Cameron's offense. That's why he's up.
I'm starting work this week on an in-depth story on "out-of-nowhere" running backs and whether or not they can achieve sustained success. The idea behind it is to get an idea on whether or not Ryan Grant and Earnest Graham are going to be good Fantasy picks in 2008. With that in mind, I'll give five stars to anyone who posts in the message board if they can name another running back NOT named Willie Parker or Priest Holmes who was NOT drafted and had several strong Fantasy seasons.