Heading into Week 14 of the 2011 season (which, coincidentally ended up being DeMarco Murray’s last game of the season), I posted the following when trying to determine if Murray should be active in fantasy lineups:
DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – Running Back
Murray is taking a gigantic step forward in our rankings this morning, and it has nothing to do directly with him. According to Brandon Mendoza of ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth (click here for the article):
“Fiammetta’s presence could make a big difference in the Cowboys chances. He has missed the last three games due to an undisclosed illness, with symptoms of nausea and dizziness. He is listed as questionable this week, but expected to play. That could provide a huge statistical boost.”
Without Fiammetta the past three weeks, Murray has managed just 198 yards on 59 carries (3.36 yards per carry) without a touchdown. In three of the previous four weeks he had rushed for at least 135 yards (including his coming out party in Week 7 with 253 yards against the Rams).
According to Mendoza, the Cowboys are averaging 145.8 rushing yards per game with Fiammetta and 83.8 rushing yards per game without him. With Fiammetta now expected in the lineup, Murray should be considered a RB1 in all formats.
Why is that relevant now? Well, Fiammetta is no longer in Dallas, first signing with the Patriots and then ultimately walking away from the game. The question facing fantasy owners now is if Murray can produce without his lead back.
So far this preseason, the results have not been stellar, with Murray having rushed the ball 10 times for 38 yards and no touchdowns. In PPR leagues, the story is a little bit different, as he has had four receptions, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be cause for concern.
Coming off a season where he missed the final few weeks due to an ankle injury and that one of the key players to his success is no longer in Dallas, it's fair to say that Murray's status of being a Top 10 back is questionable at best.
The fact that he appears to be a true every down back helps, but according to Mock Draft Central, he is currently the 10th player selected overall. With a less than stellar offensive line, poor preseason numbers and that split hanging over him, there is no way I am selecting him in the first round. Yes, there is a potential reward, but the risk is far too great.
What about you? Do you consider Murray a first round pick? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:
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