DeMarco Murray Injury: Cowboys Backups Not Worth Starting vs. Eagles in Week 7

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 14, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Running back DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

DeMarco Murray will "most likely" miss the Dallas Cowboys' NFC East clash with the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 due to a sprained MCL, according to Todd Archer and Adam Schefter of

If that's the case, don't expect the Cowboys' backups to be worth starting as handcuffs in fantasy football. 

Dallas has three possible options to "replace" Murray if he doesn't start on Sunday: second-year back Lance Dunbar, rookie Joseph Randle and third-year pro Phillip Tanner.

Dunbar is Murray's direct backup, but he's missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury and it's currently unclear whether he will play this week.

But even if he does start, he averaged 3.6 yards per carry last season. An undrafted free agent in 2012, you can't realistically expect Dunbar to all of a sudden have a big game on Sunday.

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 9:  Running back Lance Dunbar #25 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for the outside as he is caught by safety Usama Young #26 of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter of a preseason game on August 9, 2013 at Coliseum in Oakland, Cal
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

As for Randle, his first 11 carries in the NFL against the Washington Redskins last week went for 17 yards. He was able to score on a one-yard touchdown run, but averaging 1.5 yards per carry is pretty abysmal.

It's not like I don't see Randle ever being productive; he has a pretty balanced game and he has the power and strength to regularly convert in goal-line situations. 

It has more to do with the fact that he just got his first pro carries last week and, given the results, it's fair to say he still needs some time to develop.

Oct 13, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle (21) runs with the ball against Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson (26) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins 31-16. Mandat
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As for Tanner, he's mostly seen as a special teams contributor for the Cowboys. He's rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on 52 carries in his career (2.7 yards per carry). He has five carries for three yards this season, and one of his carries was a fumble (although it was recovered by Dallas).

Headed into the Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Eagles ranked 16th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs, per Yahoo! Sports. They currently rank 19th in yards allowed per carry and 15th in rushing touchdowns ceded. That's a good matchup, but not a great one.

There really is no reason why you would risk starting any of the Cowboys' backups in Week 7 if Murray is unable to go. 

Don't try to make something out of nothing.


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