Fantasy week: DeMarco Murray's value
June, 27, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPNDallas.com
We'll wrap today's run of fantasy football video content with this roundtable discussion about Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. He took the NFL and fantasy worlds by storm last season once he got the job as the Cowboys' starting running back, and before he broke his ankle in the December game against the Giants he'd emerged as a top fantasy option. He says he's healthy and will have no training camp limitations. So if we take him at his word, where do we draft him?
Eric Karabell starts off the discussion by saying he won't rank Murray in the top 10 because he fears a timeshare with Felix Jones. I think such fear is unfounded. When everyone was healthy last year, Murray was clearly the starter and Jones clearly the backup. Murray even showed enough pass-catching ability to keep Jones on the bench in those situations. So assuming he gets and stays healthy, I don't think there's any fear about Murray as the clear No. 1 back in Dallas.
Christopher Harris ranks Murray No. 9 among running backs. He has reservations because of the extent to which Murray's numbers were inflated by the one huge game against the Rams (as were the numbers of any good back who played the Rams, hello, Ryan Torain). And he qualifies his ranking by pointing out the questionable value of the other backs around him in the rankings (injury-recovery cases Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles, to name two). But he says he's "willing to take a chance on the upside," and I agree. I think Murray should be viewed as a very good second-tier option after the elite guys are off the board. He plays in one of the league's top offenses. He performed as one when given the chance, and if he's healthy he has that experience on which to draw. I'd shy away a bit in keeper leagues, because I have this fear that he's not the kind of back that holds up long-term. But in the short term, I think Murray can be extremely productive, and he has a rare quality among fantasy running backs: There's no real threat to his starting job.