The case for Dallas starting Randle over McFadden
Darren McFadden has been taking snaps at running back with the Cowboys’ first-team offense this week. But is he a better option than incumbent Joseph Randle?
Not according to our numbers. Granted, Randle played just 98 snaps in 2014, but he was very effective in that limited role. He managed a +3.9 overall grade and a +2.4 rushing grade. McFadden, while playing with the Raiders, finished with a -8.3 overall grade and with a -6.1 rushing mark.
McFadden was rumored to be banged up, but the grading falls right in line with every season of his entire career. His highest rushing grade for a season was +1.9, and that still falls short of the mark Randle set last season.
Again, Randle was playing a part-time role. It’s a different story to translate that to a larger workload. But his per-snap stats compare very favorably to McFadden’s. Randle forced 10 missed tackles on his 51 total touches. McFadden forced just 17 missed tackles on 190 total touches. Randle’s breakaway percentage was 46.5 percent, compared to just 13.6 percent for McFadden. And he even fared better as a pass-blocker than McFadden, not allowing a single pressure on the QB.
Again, the sample size prevents us from making a head-on comparison. But what Randle has provided on a per-play basis offers far more upside than what McFadden has accomplished in a lead role.