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Fantasy Football

Raiders’ Darren McFadden could be key in fantasy football

Oakland’s Darren McFadden is running into some below-average run defenses, so it is time for him to produce.

Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Oakland’s Darren McFadden is running into some below-average run defenses, so it is time for him to produce.

If you have ever reluctantly uttered the words, “Darren McFadden is the key to my season,” I know how you felt.

One month ago, with a 1-3 record, I dealt my strongest asset, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, for a package that included Oakland’s McFadden (I also received Philip Rivers, but I’d rather not focus on that).

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I’ve won three of four since the trade, and McFadden has been steady, averaging 13.6 fantasy points in his last three games. But he hasn’t been a catalyst.

It’s time for that to change. Six of the next seven run defenses McFadden will face are currently ranked between 20th and 31st. If McFadden starts shredding opponents, I’ll make the playoffs. If not, another league member will enjoy my donation.

Three up:

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville: The slow progress of Jacksonville rookie Justin Blackmon has given Shorts the opportunity to emerge, and he is averaging 20 yards per catch, and has 12 receptions for 195 yards in his last two games.

Kai Forbath, K, Washington: Kickers come and go during bye weeks, but Forbath may be a keeper. The demise of Billy Cundiff provided Forbath with a chance, and he has delivered. Since being signed in early October, Forbath is 6 for 6 on field goals, and he is accurate from long distance.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina: Olsen’s recent struggles should cease because the Panthers are facing the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Three down:

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City: When Kansas City announced that Bowe would not be traded, his owners had to cringe. For the remainder of the season, Bowe will still be running routes for Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore: A mid-round pick in fantasy drafts, Flacco was a steal during the season’s first month, averaging more than 300 yards and almost two touchdowns. Three games in October, however, produced only 30 total fantasy points, and this weekend Flacco has a physical AFC North matchup in Cleveland.

Alex Green, RB, Green Bay: Green was the darling of the fantasy waiver wire a few weeks ago, but he is averaging only 2.4 yards per carry in three starts. Packers coach Mike McCarthy provided Green with a public vote of confidence this week that seemed hollow. Green Bay’s propensity to throw and the presence of running back James Starks will limit Green’s production.

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan
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