After reading last week's football draft preview, many including a certain defending league champion who fears his beloved Lions quarterback won't make it past his first born in the first round wondered where the world's biggest homer stood on Raiders running back Darren McFadden.
Because I'm not a poker player and, like the old-school Raiders, I have no problem letting you know that I'm going deep and dare you to stop me, let's go ahead and end the suspense now, why don't we, and let the record show that I love McFadden.
And not just because he's a Raider, but because there's so much to love.
McFadden has averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his four-year career (including 5.2 ypc in 2010 and 5.4 ypc in 2011), the first tackler never brings him down, he's a strong pass-catcher out of the backfield and he's lethal in the open field.
Of course, I'm leaving out the most telling statistic 19, which is the alarming number of games DMC has missed due to injuries.
McFadden was the NFL's leading rusher (averaging 126.8 ypg with 5 TDs through the season's first six weeks) and had the Raiders looking like a legit playoff contender before suffering a Lisfranc sprain to his right foot in Week 7 at Kansas City, which cost him the final nine games and cost Oakland any real shot at the playoffs.
While the mere thought of drafting McFadden puts one at immediate risk of being struck by a meteor or trampled by a herd of angry unicorns, but that, if I'm not mistaken, was the same thinking regarding Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford this time last year.
The oft-injured Stafford made McFadden look like Cal Ripken Jr. before breaking out in 2011 and throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 41 TDs.
The fear factor kept many away from Stafford, who rewarded the brave with a Pro Bowl season and, in the case of my pop, a championship.
Injury risk aside, McFadden is an unquestioned first-round talent who, depending on the level of restraint Oakland fans are able to muster, is likely to last into the second round, perhaps even the third.
Yes, it's hard to look past his injury history, but imagine the numbers the man could produce if he's able to stay healthy and effective over the course of a 16-game season?
Heck, 13 or 14 games from a healthy McFadden could mean paydirt for fantasy owners. McFadden rushed for 1,157 yards and 7 TDs while catching 47 balls for 507 yards and 3 TDs in 13 games just two years ago.
The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up could be even better in 2012, running behind a much improved line and playing alongside a quarterback (Carson Palmer) who can wing it and a corps of speedy wide receivers (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford chief among them) who can stretch the field.
Even if McFadden was the only horse in a one-trick-pony Oakland offense, he'd still be worth a serious look, based on his ability and potential.
If McFadden becomes 2012's version of Stafford, we could be talking 1,400 yards and 15 TDs rushing and 50 to 60 catches for another 500 yards, which would make any fantasy owner feel like a lottery winner.
Will I take McFadden with the 11th overall pick or on the turn in Round 2 with the No. 14 pick next month? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, back at the Legion of Doom ...
It took 3½ months, but my baseball team has finally ditched the kiss-of-death red Star Trek jerseys and started hitting.
Homer-happy Brian McCann and I are back on speaking terms, Jhonny Peralta finally woke up, Aaron Hill is a lovely human being, and Joe Mauer and Melky Cabrera could both wind up hitting over .350 and walking away with league batting championships come October. If Nelson Cruz, Michael Cuddyer and Pablo Sandoval can get with the program, look out.
My pitching has been just as good. Clayton Kershaw is beginning to resemble Clayton Kershaw, Doug Fister finally looks like the guy I thought I drafted, Ryan Vogelsong is even nastier this year and newcomer Tommy Milone is special. As an added bonus, the weak link in my chain, Johan Santana, just went on the disabled list, which could be the biggest break of all because nobody, no matter how much I like them, rides for free at this point.
While I'm only in the low 70s points-wise, I've closed gaps in multiple categories, and another productive week could catapult me into the 80s, with all the cool kids.
We've got two months, fellas, make it happen.
My lineup C: Brian McCann; 1B: Freddie Freeman; 2B: Aaron Hill; SS: Jhonny Peralta; 3B: Pablo Sandoval; OF: Carlos Beltran, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Michael Cuddyer and J.D. Martinez; CI: Joe Mauer; MI: Danny Espinosa; U: J.P. Arencibia and Wilin Rosario; P: Clayton Kershaw, Ryan Vogelsong, Josh Johnson, Doug Fister, Tommy Milone, Felix Doubront, Wandy Rodriguez and a pitcher to be named later.
Bee fantasy sports columnist Stu Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.