It took nine weeks, but Darren McFadden is injured.
Shocking, I know. It’s about as unexpected as the Globetrotters beating the Generals or Snookie getting knocked up.
Unfortunately, many McFadden owners are left holding the bag, and to make matters worse, Mike Goodson also went down with a high-ankle sprain in Week 9.
Goodson also had an MRI that came back negative and revealed no structural damage, but both he and McFadden were absent from Wednesday's practice. Dennis Allen has refused to rule either player out for Sunday’s road tilt against the Ravens, but all coaching shenanigans aside, it’s fairly safe to assume that neither will suit up on Sunday.
That’s leaves us with Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reece in the Raiders backfield. San Francisco beat writer Vittorio Tafur believes that Jones will likely get the start, but can we garner anything from this for fantasy purposes?
Well, not really.
Sure, Jones may be the starting halfback, and Reece would likely start at fullback, as he has all season. But that doesn’t really tell us much about how they’re going to be used.
Last week, the Raiders ran the ball just 18 times compared to 68 snaps where Carson Palmer dropped back to throw. We could be seeing a lot more of this sort of run/pass ratio going forward with McFadden and Goodson on the sideline.
This likely means just a handful of carries for Jones and possibly a target or two. However, Reece has already proven to be a valuable asset in the passing game with 26 catches on 33 targets for 272 yards and a touchdown this season. Reece isn't your father's fullback. He's a true hybrid, and the beauty to his game is he can really do it all – run, block, and receive.
With the Raiders likely throwing the ball more, Reece stands to benefit the most in terms of fantasy value. He’s the guy you want to own as long as McFadden and Goodson are out.
Despite leaving Sunday’s game with an elbow injury, Kendall Wright returned to practice in full on Wednesday and is reportedly experiencing no lingering issues. Wright looks like he’s a full go for Week 10, and he should have Jake Locker back throwing him the ball.
Coach Mike Munchak said on Wednesday that he expects Locker to start against the Dolphins on Sunday barring any setbacks this week. This interesting development comes after Matt Hasselbeck’s not-so-stellar performance last Sunday against the tough Bears defense.
It’s tough to trust Locker as anything more than a low-end QB2 in his first game back, but he has a much higher fantasy ceiling than Hasselbeck and is now firmly on the fantasy radar.
Oh No, It Gets Worse...
The Eagles placed RT Todd Herremans on injured reserve today with an ankle injury. Philadelphia is now stuck with Demetress Bell as Herremans’ replacement, and will be forced to slide King Dunlap from LT to RT to cover Michael Vick’s blind side.
Bell came in for Herremans on Monday night and was absolutely dreadful, getting flagged for multiple penalties and flat out beat by Cameron Jordan for a sack.
This is about as bad as it gets for the Eagles, who have been in a tailspin since beating the Giants in Week 4. You have to downgrade the fantasy stock for the entire team going forward.
Harvin to Play on Sunday?
Percy Harvin (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday, but this guy is tough. I’m talking Chuck Norris tough. He's so tough that Superman actually owns a pair of Percy Harvin pajamas.
Harvin vowed earlier in the week that he will play on Sunday. While he’s certainly been banged up at times in his career, Harvin has actually only missed three games in four seasons.
I’m not going to be shocked if Harvin roundhouse kicks this ankle injury and suit up against the Lions, who have given up at least 100 yards and a score to receivers in each of their last four games.
Quick Slants: Robert Meachem (hamstring) and Eddie Royal (hamstring) both practiced on Wednesday. It’s unclear if Danario Alexander will still have a “big” role, as coach Norv Turner promised, when they return. ... BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness, but there’s no concern about his Week 10 availability. ... Beanie Wells (turf toe, I.R./designated for return) participated in Wednesday's practice. He’s not eligible to return until Week 12, but he should immediately resume feature-back duties upon his reinstatement. ... Stevie Johnson (thigh) missed Wednesday’s practice, but is likely to play in Week 10. ... DeMarco Murray (foot) still isn’t practicing. He’s targeting a Week 11 return. ... Jamaal Charles practiced in full on Wednesday and is expected to start on Monday night against the Steelers. Aaron Hernandez (ankle) was limited in Wednesday’s practice after missing Tuesday due to the birth of his daughter. ... Owen Daniels (hip) missed practice on Wednesday, and is looking pretty questionable for Sunday night. ... Despite speculation that he could return this week, Darren Sproles (hand) was absent from practice on Wednesday and is extremely unlikely to play in Week 10.
The IDP Corner: Charles Tillman could miss Sunday night’s game against the Texans if his wife goes into labor. Fantasy owners who’ve been rolling with “Peanut” will want to have a backup plan in place. ... The Giants have ruled out Kenny Phillips (knee) for Week 10, so that means at least one more week of Stevie Brown in an every-down roll. The Giant’s bye is in Week 11. ... Dolphins’ CB Richard Marshall (back) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday. Nolan Carroll is now locked into a starting role opposite Sean Smith. ... Packers OLB Nick Perry (wrist) also landed on I.R. yesterday. With Clay Matthews (hamstring) also banged up, Green Bay is now extremely thin at OLB. ... There’s a chance we see Troy Polamalu return in Week 11. Ryan Clark has been putting up pretty good IDP numbers with Polamalu on the sideline. ... Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday. Akeem Dent replaced Weatherspoon in the Falcons’ nickel packages last Sunday, and would again get the nod if Weatherspoon sits out Week 10.