If you are an owner of Darren McFadden, odds are you are celebrating this week. That's because your guy went out on Sunday and decided to simply go nuts at Jacksonville, scoring touchdowns of 67, 51 and 36 yards in length. How's that for a start to the fantasy playoffs?
For the day, the Raiders' top back piled up 123 yards and two scores on just 16 carries and added three receptions for 86 yards and a TD. With Week 14 marking the beginning of the fantasy postseason in most leagues, it couldn't have come at a better time. And just like that, we could be looking at this year's Jamaal Charles or Jerome Harrison — guys that stole the show in December of 2009 to lead many owners to fantasy crowns.
Why might McFadden be that guy? Well, take one look at the schedule he has in front of him the next two weeks. First he gets the Broncos at home; the last time he faced Denver, all he did was rack up 196 yards and four TDs. Then, in fantasy championship week, the former Razorback takes on the Colts, who boast one of the NFL's worst run defenses and have allowed 14 scores on the ground. Given that slate, there's probably not another back in the league you would rather have for the remainder of the season.
This has been a magical fantasy campaign for McFadden, one that people had been expecting from him since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2008. After putting up mostly duds in Years One and Two, he has eight games of at least 89 yards rushing, 437 receiving yards and 10 total TDs. And he has managed to do that despite missing two contests to injury.
But it looked like it all could come crashing down a few weeks ago when No. 20 had back-to-back poor outings. Reports emerged that he was not running with the zeal he had earlier in the season, and a timeshare with Michael Bush appeared possible. But he righted the ship in Week 13, and now he's set for a monster finish.
Those who watched Charles or Harrison lead them to fantasy gold in '09 won't soon forget those ridiculous playoff runs. If things play out like they should, owners are going to have similar memories of McFadden as he uses his big-play ability to tear up Denver and Indy and secure winnings for all those who gambled on him back in August.