I’d like to begin this day by asking you to close your eyes. Don’t worry, this won’t get weird.

The holiday season is very much upon us, and with that comes the gluttonous purchase of toys which will be used twice, or maybe seven times. So, keep those eyelids shut, and picture the best toy you ever unwrapped on a bright, glistening Christmas morning. This will, of course, vary depending on your age and gender. The two women who regularly read a fantasy football blog may fondly remember a Cabbage Patch doll of some kind. And the boys — especially those who live here in the great nation of Canada with its inflatable beavers — will gleefully recall a tabletop hockey game sitting under the tree. Ho boy, hours of fun awaited.

I craved destruction, because I was sort of screwed up like that. So although I once received the aforementioned tabletop hockey game, my all-time favorite gift promoted vehicle crashing and limb ripping. Yeah, The Incredible Crash Test Dummies are still the best.

At the time I had no idea that one of my beloved childhood toys would later move on to star at Arkansas, and then get drafted by the Raiders. It’s remarkable, really, how fast Darren McFadden can run after I repeatedly crashed him into walls, threw him down stairs, and dropped him from balconies. But there he is, running and juking, and making tacklers miss.

He still hasn’t fixed that whole breaking bit though.

It’s true, guys. He didn’t want me to tell you, because it’s part of his past that McFadden is trying with little success to bury. But the McFadden you know is actually a Crash Test Dummy, which is reflected in his breakability. Fantasy owners have long developed a love/hate relationship with this toy, as when McFadden is healthy, he can often be highly effective. Well, this year has been the exception to that, but generally throughout his career a healthy McFadden has been an elite and fast and slashing and really awesome McFadden.

So we all highly anticipated his return last night after the Raiders running back missed four games with an ankle injury, which was his habitual yearly absence after he missed nine games last year, and throughout his five-year career he’s now missed 23 games. Although his total yardage number may have left a little to be desired when he finished with 64 yards (52 rushing, 12 receiving), that doesn’t tell the whole story. We very much saw the typical McFadden last night, as he slowly chipped away before busting out a 36-yard run. Toss in the receiving touchdown during Oakland’s loss to Denver, and he logged 11 fantasy points, a fine day for a fragile back returning from injury, especially in a blowout game when running was pretty much impossible for the Raiders during much of the second half.

Then the crash happened, and the dummy’s head and arms flew high into the air after hitting a solid brick wall before getting dragged away by the family pet. McFadden re-injured his ankle, because that’s what he does. He injures things.

Yahoo’s Jason Cole reported the injury late last night following the game. He was sure to note that this time it’s not as serious, and since the Raiders now have half of a bye week following the Thursday game, McFadden has 10 days to recover before the Raiders host Kansas City in Week 15.

It’s swell that the likelihood of McFadden missing another game appears minimal, but if you’re in the playoffs and you were crazy enough to drop Marcel Reece with DMC now “healthy,” you need to correct that error quickly. Insurance is your friend, and you always need plenty of it when McFadden is on your roster.

Worst. Christmas gift. Ever.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • You need to believe in Cecil Shorts, and ride him throughout the playoffs. [Pro Football Focus Fantasy]
  • Some open-ended fantasy playoff discussion among some guys who write a lot about fantasy football. Read, explore, enjoy. [Zach On Sports]
  • Ben Roethlisberger will start Sunday, which means you can start all your Steelers. [Steelers.com]
  • The Bills will never draft “their” quarterback. Sigh. [Goodberry Thoughts]