There is no denying Dallas Cowboys star running back DeMarco Murray‘s talent. He runs with a rare blend of power and speed and almost with abandoned recklessness.
Perhaps that’s why he has yet to play more than 13 games in a season after two years in the NFL.
We know the guy can run inside, break runs around the corner, and elude in open space. He has the long speed, the change-up explosiveness, and the shake to send defenders to the ground with broken ankles. All the good stuff is there. It’s that pesky “injury-prone” label, the one he’s carried with him since his college days at Oklahoma, that still has fantasy football owners concerned.
And they should be concerned. Murray had a freak ankle injury rob him of what could have been a sensational rookie season in 2011. More leg injuries last year kept him out of six straight games, as well. In all, the electrifying Murray has twice flickered out in his only two years in the league, making just 23 starts in 32 opportunities.
The good news is that Murray’s health is the only real concern. The bad news about the aforementioned bad news is that he’s already flirting with disaster again after tweaking his hamstring at OTAs.
That shouldn’t throw you off completely, but it’s just a taste of what Murray owners have been feeling the past two years.
We can talk the guy up as a top-10 or top-15 option all we want. Few would knock the notion, as a huge part of fantasy football is indeed upside and role. But the facts are still staring us in the face.
In addition to the missed games and injury concerns over the past two years, we simply haven’t seen Murray hold up as a feature back. The skill and talent is there to make it a realistic possibility, but the overall production just hasn’t come to fruition.
Two seasons in and Murray still hasn’t topped 165 rushing attempts in a season. He’s also been held below 900 rushing yards both years, and to make matters worse, he’s not the biggest paydirt king, as he has just six rushing touchdowns to his name.
But as fantasy football enthusiasts, it is our duty to look on the bright side. After all, if Ryan Mathews and Darren McFadden can get drafted in the top-20 (and they both still could), then we can’t hold injury concerns against Murray forever, can we?
Add in Murray’s versatility as a receiver (60 receptions through two seasons) and lack of competition (no more Felix Jones), and the upside starts to outweigh the downside.
The fact of the matter is every player comes with injury risk, and Murray is getting closer and closer to putting together a complete season. He’s a RB1 candidate if it happens and a solid RB2 even if it doesn’t. That type of value and production is simply worth the risk.