Despite his status as a high first-round pick and potential franchise back, do not look for McFadden to start initially, which could hurt his 2008 fantasy value somewhat. That job, at least early on, is expected to belong to Fargas.
The news that Fargas is the starting tailback should come as no surprise to any Raider fan. Fargas was a fantastic runner last season and he even went in and ran for a TD on his final play of 2007 with his knee already injured.
Don't look, according to Kiffin, for McFadden to be used in many gimmick plays during his rookie campaign. Instead, he is expected to keep it simple with the 20-year-old. Look for McFadden to serve as a change-of-pace back to Fargas, possibly on second-and-long and third-and-long situations. His workload should increase as the season progresses, as was the case with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson a year ago. However, initially, he likely will not see more than 10-15 touches per game, with his biggest contribution likely to come as a receiver out of the backfield. His prowess as a receiver should aid second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell's development in the passing game.
This is, pretty much, in line with Kiffin's comments that he wants to break him in as a running back in the I-Formation first, and the concentrate on adding to his "package" as the season goes on.
Lane was quick to chastise the Saints for their treatment of Bush in his rookie campaign and does not want to complicate things for his new franchise player.
It should also come as no surprise to all of Raider fans that Lane will slowly break him in because that is exactly what he did with JaMarcus last season.
I, personally love the fact that he is fighting the temptation to WIN NOW and AT ALL COSTS and is willing to let this team grow into a force that will be a wrecking ball in the NFL for 10 years.
I also wonder how long it will be until Al Davis demands to see his prize take the field and get the majority of the snaps. I hope, for Lane's sake, that his plan works early on and that he will be able to do the things that he sees necessary.
McFadden clearly has substantial upside, but he should only be drafted with the expectation of No. 3 fantasy back production. He could emerge as midrange No. 2 over the course of the season, but that is far from a guarantee. Resist the temptation to spend a draft choice on him in the first four rounds as he would represent a better value after that point. If you choose to draft him, be prepared to spend as high as a late second-round pick to acquire this part-time player.