I’m not sure what the fuss is against DeMarco Murray in fantasy football. The dude was the #1 fantasy running back a year ago, and now he’s in a more potent offensive system, yet he’s been downgraded? Don’t get me wrong, I get it and I’m also totally fine with it.
For two reasons, really. First, I get that Murray ran behind one of the best o-lines ever in Dallas last year. I get that he played a full 16 game season for the first time in his NFL career last year. But the guy was awesome. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry despite running the ball a staggering 393 times, he was a touchdown fiend (13) and even hauled in a career high 57 catches.
This dude is Chip Kelly’s dream. Unlike LeSean McCoy, who danced around and tried to do too much too often, Murray is adept at taking what is there for him. Murray hits holes with authority and while his top end speed isn’t amazing, he has a very nice burst and can get past the secondary for long gains. He’s also an ox that can handle the heaviest of workloads.
Oh, and this dude wasn’t just a 2014 fluke. He struggled to stay healthy before this season, but in each of his first three years in the league, he still put up at least 660 yards and twice topped a 5.0 yards per carry average. The year before he erupted, we were already seeing a star in the making, as Murray put up 1,124 rushing yards and nine scores on just 217 carries.
The goal-line ability, the natural rushing and vision and the versatility – All. Still. Here.
The concern, if we’re being honest, is that Murray is now behind an inferior offensive line, might get hurt and may not get the ridiculous 450 touches he got a year ago.
The answers to those concerns, in order, are: you’re right, who can’t? and no shit/thank God.
You can’t hold Murray’s success against him. You just can’t. He was a talented runner with all of his current ability before Dallas decided to drive him into the ground, and he still is that guy. And of course he can get hurt. Arian Foster has, C.J. Spiller has, hell, even Jamaal Charles has.
The best players can get hurt or get nicked up. Suck it up and accept that is a harsh reality and move on. Murray is no different, but at the worst he proved he CAN play through the pain and make it through a full season. Not just that, but he did this while carrying the Cowboys on his back and leading the league in rushing. He had over 1,800 rushing yards, yo.
Nothing about Murray is a fluke. True, he paced the league in carries and history suggests that’s not the best thing for a player the following year. But that’s an argument you use to not draft Murray #1 overall. Or to keep him out of your top-5. Hell, that’s something you throw at the wall and see if it sticks when debating whether he should be a first round pick.
But dude is going in round two in drafts!!
I’m sorry, but that’s disgusting. Murray is in my top-10, yet I can get a guy who could easily repeat as a top-5 player in the second round of drafts. That means, if I’m picking at the end of drafts, I could potentially get a pairing of something like C.J. Anderson/Murray or Antonio Brown/Murray.
The other big problem with Murray is a perceived lack of role because Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles also occupy spots on Philly’s roster. That should be true, but how is this a bad thing? Murray produced just fine with barely over 200 rushing attempts in 2013 and just because he won’t get over 400 touches he’s suddenly a scrub? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Sure, Sproles will steal some third down work, and yeah, Mathews will sub in at times.
But Murray got PAID to be the feature back because Chip Kelly thinks he’ll be awesome. And he can be. And he probably will be.
Truth be told, the only thing that is really scaring people away is Murray getting hurt. But if he sees less of a workload, wouldn’t he naturally be less likely to get banged up? The argument goes both ways, but for me, none of it matters when you’re getting last year’s #1 running back in the second freaking round.
So, should you draft DeMarco Murray this year? Absolutely. Why not? I wouldn’t be all over him in the first round, but if he’s there in round two, that’s VALUE and it can’t be ignored.