Why Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray Is a Prime Fantasy Football Trade Target

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIOctober 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

During the fantasy draft season, I touted DeMarco Murray as a top-five fantasy running back. Now, I wish I didn’t draft him at all. But the reason is not what you think.

Sure, Murray has only topped 100 yards rushing once this season and totals 237 yards on the ground through four games.

Of course, he’s only scored one total TD this season while his entire offense gets scrutinized on a national scale.

The real reason I wish I hadn’t traded for Murray is that because I own him in every league in which I participate, I can’t trade for him.

You can call that stubbornness, but there are numbers to back it up.

Let’s start with the defenses that Murray has faced. Granted, if you have a first-round pick at running back, you’re going to want him to be matchup-proof. But to that end, Murray hasn’t scored fewer than seven fantasy points this season.

He just hasn’t had a big game because he’s faced defenses that know what they’re doing with regard to stopping the run.

He’s faced four top-12 defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. That includes two of the top four.

Murray’s first game came against the New York Giants. It was his best, and of teams that he’s faced this season, they have been the second-easiest to run on thus far.

Murray collected 131 yards on 20 carries against a team that has held everyone else they’ve faced to fewer than 67 yards rushing (Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) except the ultra-shifty LeSean McCoy (123 yards in Week 4).

The Seattle Seahawks, Murray’s Week 2 opponent, have been shutting dudes down on the ground this year. That’s the toughest run D he’s faced so far, with the third-fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs this year.

Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams has been the most successful carrying the rock against the Seahawks in 2012, taking 18 handoffs for 55 yards.

Murray had 44 yards on 12 carries in Seattle while the Cowboys were playing from behind all game.

The Buccaneers have been tough on the run this year as well. Yet, they’re the easiest matchup Murray has faced so far.

Tampa Bay has actually allowed a 100-yard rusher this season: Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins in Week 4. Morris got 21 carries. Murray had 18 caries for 38 yards, but that was before Morris’ performance and two weeks after the Bucs essentially shut out the Carolina Panthers' run game.

And then there’s Chicago.

The Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears saw Murray taken out of the game as the Cowboys committed turnover after turnover after turnover.

Then they committed some more.

Murray ended up with a season-low 11 carries for a season-low 24 yards. He still contributed in the passing game (like he does every week).

These are the same Bears that held Steven Jackson to 29 yards on 11 carries. They have not allowed an opposing rusher to approach 100 yards this season. The closest to it was Cedric Benson’s 81 yards in Week 2, and he got 20 tries to do that.

The matchup landscape gets a lot better for Murray after the Cowboys’ Week 5 bye.

In Week 6, he’ll face the Baltimore Ravens who, despite their name value as a defense, rank in the bottom half of the NFL in preventing points allowed to fantasy running backs.

Murray gets the Panthers in Week 7, a team that has given up at least 117 rushing yards to opposing running backs each game this season.

He’ll see the same Giants that he put 131 yards on in Week 8, followed by an Atlanta Falcons squad that hasn’t stopped an RB corps from reaching 100 yards in any game this year, either.

It’s going to get better for Murray.

Chances are, the fantasy owner with Murray in your league is floundering a bit. Maybe 2-2 or 1-3 even, since Murray hasn’t had a fantasy matchup-breaking performance in any given week yet.

That would make Week 5 a perfect opportunity to try to land the Cowboys’ featured back. He’s on a bye and can’t help anybody’s fantasy team this week.

You can center trade discussions around your offering up immediate payoff in guys like Alfred Morris or Ryan Mathews who have nice matchups in Week 5.

If they bite, you can stash Murray on your bench for Week 5 and reap the rewards when the Cowboys return to action.

Just don’t send me any offers for him.


However, feel free to find me on Twitter and let me know what offers you're considering sending the DeMarco Murray owner in your league: 


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