Darren McFadden resurrected his career with the Cowboys in 2015, but Dallas decided to draft his replacement this season in rookie Ezekiel Elliott. And now his Fantasy value is relegated to being a handcuff with a late-round pick, as long as he's healthy. In June, it was reported that McFadden broke his elbow in an accident at home and required surgery, and he might miss the start of training camp. He should be ready by Week 1, but this has been a forgettable offseason for McFadden after Elliott and Alfred Morris were added and now the injury. Last year, McFadden took over as the starter in Dallas with DeMarco Murray gone as a free agent and Joseph Randle as a flop, and he had 239 carries for 1,089 yards and three touchdowns and 40 catches for 328 yards. He was the No. 14 running back in standard leagues, but this season he will struggle for playing time. McFadden could still be a change-of-pace rusher and work on passing downs behind Elliott, but he will only be worth starting if Elliott gets hurt and as long as he's ahead of Morris on the depth chart. McFadden will also be 29 in August, and he's only worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues, especially if you invest an early-round pick on Elliott.
McFadden (elbow) could miss three months, ESPN.com reports. The Cowboys haven't provided any hints about McFadden's timeline since June 14, when head coach Jason Garrett said the veteran running back will miss "a couple months" after having surgery on his fractured elbow, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Early reports suggested that McFadden is expected to return at some point during training camp, which would likely give him a shot to be ready for Week 1. Subsequent reports have been a bit more pessimistic, suggesting McFadden will miss 2-3 months, with his rehab process potentially stretching closer to the regular season. Alfred Morris figures to take most of the second-team reps when training camp begins, but sixth-round rookie Darius Jackson could push for a role.
McFadden underwent surgery on a fractured elbow Tuesday, Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News reports. McFadden participated in OTAs while dealing with elbow pain all last week, but an X-ray revealed that the issue is actually a fracture, which means he won't participate in this week's minicamp. Given that the injury required surgery, it's quite possible McFadden's absence will extend into training camp, though he is expected to return at some point before camp ends, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. This could help Ezekiel Elliott's bid to secure the lead role, and it might also assist Alfred Morris' effort to land a key backup job. McFadden has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate, but his likely absence for part of training camp could make it tougher to find a partner, if the Cowboys are indeed interested in trading him.
McFadden split first-team reps with rookie Ezekiel Elliott during this week's OTAs, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports. McFadden worked with the ones during the first week of OTAs, but Elliott got his first opportunity with the starters last week when the veteran was away for personal reasons. The Cowboys are making a show of having Elliott earn his spot, but despite McFadden's impressive performance for Dallas last season, he still figures to begin the regular season on the bench or even in another uniform.
McFadden could become a trade candidate by the end of the summer, ESPN.com reports. The Cowboys probably wouldn't be comfortable trading McFadden at the moment, as receiving specialist Lance Dunbar (torn ACL) is no lock to be ready for Week 1 and Alfred Morris isn't a real option for passing downs. However, the Cowboys might ultimately be comfortable with a backfield comprised of Ezekiel Elliott, Morris and Dunbar, if the latter is indeed available by the beginning of the season. It's unclear if a trade would help or hurt McFadden's fantasy stock, as the top backup job in Dallas could make him a valuable handcuff for Elliott owners. All of this, of course, assumes that Elliott will put together a competent camp and claim the lead role, as expected. If the No. 4 overall selection appears surprisingly out of his element, McFadden won't be going anywhere.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said McFadden is "still in the picture" for the Dallas running game, the team's official website reports. McFadden and Alfred Morris both saw their 2016 stock plummet when the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4 overall. The rookie profiles as a three-down workhorse in the NFL, possibly even taking on such a role by Week 1. McFadden won't necessarily disappear from the offense, but it's quite possible that he merely ends up battling Morris for whatever scraps Elliott leaves behind. Granted, there might still be handcuff appeal in such a scenario, as the Cowboys have a phenomenal offensive line.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||New York Giants||26||20.38|
|4||10/02||@San Francisco 49ers||32||22.88|
|6||10/16||@Green Bay Packers||11||15.33|
|14||12/12||@New York Giants||26||20.38|
|15||12/18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||16.88|
|3 Year Avg||169||667||3||31||216||0||105|