Fantasy Football 2012: Is DeMarco Murray Worthy of a First-Round Pick?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 11:   DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There was a time last year when DeMarco Murray not only looked the part of a first round fantasy pick, but he was making a case to be a top three or five selection.

Then the injury bug hit.

Given his potential, do you consider him worthy of a first round selection?

Murray finished the year with 897 rushing yards at an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. He also caught 26 passes for 183 yards. I know, 1080 total yards isn’t all that impressive, especially when you consider that he only scored two touchdowns, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Murray did not get double-digit carries until Week 6 following the Cowboys’ bye. He ran for 34 yards against the Patriots.

The following week, Murray exploded against the Rams for 253 yards and a score on 25 carries. He certainly got everybody’s attention again following that performance.

Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke that came against the lowly Rams, he averaged 132.4 total yards during his next five games. Counting that explosion against St. Louis he averaged 152.5 total yards during a six-game stretch. Those are Arian Foster numbers, minus the touchdowns of course, as he scored just two during the span.

Murray is young (24) and he plays for an explosive offense. If he can stay healthy he should see 15-20 touches a game. If he can continue to pile up the yardage he should be a hot commodity because I expect his touchdown total to improve.

I currently have DeMarco Murray as my 14th-ranked running back, so I don’t have him as an RB1 currently. As the season nears, I could see myself pushing him up a few notches. I may eventually consider him an RB1, but I don’t think he’ll move up to first round status.

That may be where you need to take him though. Mock Draft Central has him as the eighth running back to go off the board and the tenth overall player.

If you’re willing to take the risk on his durability, there could be some big rewards to reap. Just be careful because you could find yourself scrambling to fill your RB1 slot.

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