UPDATED 02/18/2011 - HERE --> Oakland Raiders News
Ever since I can remember, the Oakland Raiders have been the butt of 99% of NFL jokes [if you forget the whole Rich Gannon Super Bowl journey]; but for some reason people are saying this season could be different. With the additions of Jason Campbell [or as Al Davis says: Jim Plunkett], the Raiders have finally found themselves a quarterback with at least some experience. When you start to look at the running back position though, you notice the current issue of who will be the starter and who will be his backup.
After the Oakland Raiders preseason game versus the Dallas Cowboy, Bush's 4.4 yards-per-carry average came against a Dallas defense that was minus just one starter -- DE Marcus Spears -- so it appears Bush is ready to pounce on the lead running back roll.. but let's not forget Darren McFadden is nursing an injury and Rustyn Rose currently still has him ranked higher than Bush in our Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings.
With names such as Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, Rock Cartwright and Michael Bennett on the roster you notice lots of youth as well as lots of experience. Starting from the bottom, Michael Bennett, who has been in the league for 10 seasons and has played for 5 different teams, gives Oakland a good guy to show McFadden and Bush how train their bodies to withstand a 16 game season. Third string running back Rock Cartwright brings a different type of experience to the field with his skills set in blocking; something Oakland can definitely use some work on. For the Raiders to become successful, they need to start from the basics and having the depth of Bennett and Cartwright might just be the veteran answer to their woes.
The question then lies on how will Oakland deal with having two very different, but very capable running backs sitting and waiting in the wings. When looking at this RBBC from a fantasy football point of view, it is very difficult to draft one of those two players and not be frightened by the other ones potential. When looking at past success vs. potential, you obviously take Michael Bush for what he has accomplished in his two season in Oakland, but when it comes to potential no one is higher on my list than Darren McFadden. The problem I have with DMC [McFadden], is he reminds me too much of Reggie Bush. Now do not get me wrong, when it comes to potential I pretty much see Bush as I do McFadden; I would love to have them on my NFL team, but would not touch them with a long pole in the fantasy realm.
It has not come to the point in Oakland where you should be starting both Bush and McFadden, like in Carolina and Miami with DeAngelo/Stewart and Ronnie/Ricky, but it has come to the point where whoever wins this job in Oakland is worth a RB2 slot. McFadden has his upsides in terms of his ability to run the wildcat [like he did in Arkansas] as well as his speed to the outside, but what he does not have that Bush has is the ability to smell out the end zone while inside the red zone, and that is why I would take Michael Bush over Darren McFadden this upcoming fantasy football season as a high upside RB2 in all formats.