Here's the second part of my review of this year's rookie running backs. Part 1 can be found here.
Darren McFadden, Oak - He was considered the best rookie running back prospect coming into the season, but so far he hasn't come close to that title. He had a huge 21 carry, 164 yard performance in Week 2, but has totaled less than 140 yards total in the four games since then. He also has had fewer than nine carries in each of the past three games. There's no way for him to succeed if the Raiders just don't use him. That may change under new coach Tom Cable, but the early signs are that the Raiders are going back to Justin Fargas so it's just more fantasy chaos from the Raiders. Things don't look like they're going to get better for McFadden owners this season.
Kevin Smith, Det - Considering the Lions have been terrible so far, and considering the Lions don't give him enough carries (only one game with more than ten carries), Jones is doing relatively well. His 4.9 yds/carry average and touchdowns in two of the past three games are positives. However, you don't want to hear about positives if your fantasy team is losing because you had been counting on him. Has a lot of potential upside for the second half, but right now he's unreliable for your fantasy team. The best you (and the city of Detroit) can hope for is for a coaching change. Very soon. Please hurry.
Tim Hightower, Arz - He's a touchdown machine (five TDs in six games) but not much else. In larger leagues, that's enough. He's a gamble every week, but if Edge goes down Hightower will be a fantasy star in every league.
Felix Jones, Dal - He was shaping up as a nice flex option before his injury, especially in leagues that score for kick/punt returns. As long as the Cowboys don't panic and rush him back too soon, he should be productive for the rest of the year.
Jamaal Charles, KC - He hasn't done anything yet, but with Larry Johnson benched/suspended/overpaid for the rest of the season, there's a very good chance Charles may have the starting job some time soon. He's a guy to grab now if he's still available in your league.
Ray Rice, Bal - There were reports in the offseason that Rice was looking so impressive the Ravens were considering cutting Willis McGahee and handing the starting job to Rice. Eh, not seeing it. A 3.0 yd/carry average isn't going to impress anybody. Barring a McGahee injury (which, now that I think about it, is almost inevitable) he won't have any fantasy value.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pit - He was damn unlucky picking up a season-ending injury right before Willie Parker did, but to be honest he didn't look that great before the injury.