Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray injured his foot against the Baltimore Ravens. Despite Felix Jones’ admirable performance in Murray’s absence, fantasy football owners should not count on consistent production from the Cowboys' backup.
Murray sprained his left foot and will have an MRI to further evaluate the injury, according the Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. George notes that the team does not know how long Murray will be out at this point.
The second-year back had racked up 93 yards on 14 carries before leaving Sunday’s game in the second quarter. When he left, Jones stepped in and did not allow the Baltimore defense to rest.
Jones finished the game with 92 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. This was the type of performance that Dallas expected from the speedy back on a consistent basis since taking him in the first round of the 2008 draft.
However, Jones—like Murray—has struggled to stay healthy during his career and has not proven that he is capable of being a starting running back in the NFL.
Jones is certainly capable of putting together another decent performance if Murray misses time, but fantasy owners expecting the Cowboys backup to be equally as productive as their starter will be disappointed.
The Dallas offense as a whole has been wildly inconsistent this season. After an incredibly impressive game to open the season against the New York Giants, the Cowboys put up just seven points the next week against the Seattle Seahawks and then committed eight turnovers in the following two games.
This Sunday’s contest against the Ravens was the offense’s second decent performance of the season. It is no coincidence that these were also the games in which the rushing attack was effective.
While Baltimore has an elite defense, the team also lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb during the game. This was a significant blow, and the Ravens were not able to fully recover.
Going forward, the Cowboys offense will continue to play inconsistently, and when the group is not performing well, the running back will not put up impressive fantasy numbers.
With Murray, fantasy owners could have confidence that his power, speed and hard-nosed running style would ensure that he receives double-digit carries at the very least.
This will not be the case with Jones. He has struggled to run down hill on too many occasions in his career, and when he's in the backfield, the Cowboys are significantly more likely to move away from the run if they struggle early.
While picking up Jones is certainly a wise move, throwing him immediately into the starting lineup is not, even if Murray misses a few weeks. He will not equal Murray's production, and fantasy owners should be cautious about using Jones.