DeMarco Murray: Diagnosing How Fantasy Owners Must Handle Injured Cowboys Star

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 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

Coming into the 2012 NFL regular season, Dallas Cowboys star running back DeMarco Murray was one of the hottest fantasy football names and rose all the way to a 17.68 average draft position.

That’s a second-round pick in most standard leagues, and despite his recent foot injury (h/t, fantasy owners must not cut ties with the young back.

As much as the bye weeks will give fantasy owners fits, look for a viable replacement elsewhere, but do not give up on a star that could be a major fantasy difference maker when the playoffs hit.


When to Expect DeMarco Murray Back

While the Cowboys have already ruled their young running back out for the team’s Week 7 meeting with the Carolina Panthers, there is a hope from Murray and his teammates that he could be back by Week 8 when Dallas plays the New York Giants.

ESPN’s Ed Werder is reporting on Twitter about the latest on Murray’s injury and when his teammates expect the star back in the lineup:

Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray has sprained foot, no surgery but in protective book and using crutches so doubtful he plays vs Carolina. #cowboys

— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 15, 2012

Cowboys concerned DeMarco Murray foot injury could result in multi-game absence but player tells teammates he will play vs Giants next week

— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 16, 2012

While Murray may be shooting for Week 8, a more realistic expectation for a return would be Week 9 or 10. As we have seen from injured stars like Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon, foot injuries are no laughing matter.


How Dallas Handles the Situation

As much as it hurts to lose a young star like Murray to injury, backup and former starting running back Felix Jones looked like he wanted to win the starting job back against the tough Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.

Jones ran the ball 18 times for 92 yards and a 22-yard touchdown, cementing his spot as the new starting running back and a serious candidate to poach carries even when Murray returns to health.

With the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants the next two foes on the schedule, Jones will have a good chance to break out against their mediocre run defenses. Fantasy owners and Cowboys fans should find salvation in Jones.


Fantasy Options While You Wait

If you have DeMarco Murray in your fantasy league, you are getting very nervous considering the amount of teams on bye over the next three weeks. You need a backup plan, and all of the following players are viable options.

Alex Green, Green Bay Packers: Despite having a mediocre game against the Houston Texans last week, Alex Green is still a viable option because of the sheer amount of carries he will get. With Aaron Rodgers finding his rhythm, Green will get 20-plus carries each week.

Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys: As we already know, Murray owners should first try to handcuff the young star by grabbing his temporary replacement. If the substitution becomes long-term, though, fantasy owners will have a viable starter heading into the playoffs.

William Powell, Arizona Cardinals: After watching Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams go down with devastating injuries, the Arizona Cardinals will lean on young back William Powell in Week 7 and moving forward. With 70 yards on 13 carries in Week 6, expect Powell to steal the No. 1 job outright from LaRod Stephens-Howling.


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