DeMarco Murray Injury: Fantasy Owners Must Start Cowboys RB in Week 8

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 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

Here is a list of running backs that will either miss Week 8 due to byes or injury: Matt Forte, Arian FosterRay Rice, Doug Martin, Chris Johnson, Trent Richardson, Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.

And that's why DeMarco Murray owners are probably thrilled—and should get him right back into their starting lineups—as positive news continues to trickle out about Murray's status for this week's game against the Detroit Lions.

On Wednesday, Murray was practicing, according to Todd Archer of ESPN:

And then there is this from Calvin Watkins, a Dallas Cowboys beat reporter for ESPN Dallas:

Let's break down the positives here. For starters, Murray is averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game played (10.1 per game if you take into account the game he missed last week) and has either scored a touchdown or registered 90 yards from scrimmage in five of six games. 

He now faces a Detroit Lions team that is 23rd in rush defense (allowing 115.1 on the ground per game), has allowed five rushing touchdowns and is giving up 17.1 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week in standard-scoring leagues, 23rd in the NFL.

There are plenty of points to be had in this matchup for a dynamic player like Murray.

Now the negatives. For one, the Lions allow 282 passing yards per game, 28th in the NFL. It's easy to see Tony Romo slinging the ball around in this game given the high likelihood that a shootout will break out with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush on the opposing offense. 

If the Cowboys get behind early and decide to rely on Romo to bring them back, Murray's usage could take a hit. 

Then there's the concern that the Cowboys no longer trust in Murray as the franchise back, as Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler outlined in this video:

That probably won't be a factor this week, however, but could be an issue as the trading deadline approaches.

However, the Cowboys could decide to ease Murray back into action this week, or at least utilize him cautiously. Joseph Randle accumulated 93 yards on 22 touches a week ago—though he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry—so the Cowboys won't be afraid to let him carry some of the load this week. 

But let's be honest—if Murray is on the field, you pretty much have to start him. Even at 75 percent, he still has more fantasy upside than any other Dallas runner, and the matchup is just too tasty to ignore. 

Monitor his status closely throughout the week—you may want to avoid him if it sounds like the Cowboys will share the workload equally between Murray and Randle—but if he's the Dallas starter come Sunday, he has to be starting for your fantasy team as well. 


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and make fun of people who angrily tweet at players who don't produce for their fantasy teams, because how lame is that? 

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