The Dallas Cowboys have been quite about their running back situation heading into the first week of the 2015 NFL season, as no one seems to know who will have the bigger role between Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden. Owner Jerry Jones originally stood behind Randle as the team’s starter back in the summer, while practice “indicates” he still has that large role.
There have been numerous reports since Jones firmly supported Randle, however, while Jones himself still suggested the Cowboys would use a committee approach after stud rusher DeMarco Murray left in free agency. Some reports suggest Darren McFadden could start and have a bigger load, while others suggest who starts won’t matter and Randle is set for more carries.
Suffice to say, the situation in the Cowboys’ offensive backfield is a tough one to gauge. It gets even tougher when they go up against a weak New York Giants run defense on Sunday Night Football, as the matchup is enticing enough to go with at least one Dallas running back in fantasy football. Picking the right one is a total nightmare, as McFadden won’t have a “pitch count” and could start, while the running game rotation could easily end up being decided by the flow of the game and the level of success each back enjoys.
So, which Cowboys running back do you roll with in week one? I vote for McFadden. Run DMC’s main knocks his entire career have been that he’s played on a bad Raiders team and he can’t stay healthy. In the first game of the year health isn’t really a major question mark, while he’s without a doubt running behind the best o-line of his career and also is playing on a team leaps and bounds better than any Oakland team he was ever associated with. Randle certainly has the potential to be the guy right out of the gates, but if this is as much of a toss up as it appears to be, McFadden’s explosiveness and versatility win out. McFadden looked more impressive in preseason play and if both of these backs have limited or split roles, he carries the most upside as the guy who can break longer runs and do more with less.
Dallas is at home with a great matchup and they’re going to want to run the ball. That’s all a given. One way or another, one or both of Randle and McFadden will end up producing, but it’s a solid bet they’ll both see their upside capped to get things going. If you have a choice, you’re fading this situation until we know more. For now, if you must use one, McFadden is the higher upside (and cheaper) play in daily fantasy football leagues, while he’s also more likely to be available on your season long league’s waiver wire if you need help at the RB2 or Flex position.