The Oakland Raiders have the NFL’s sixth-best rushing offense (134.1 yards per game) with two weeks to go in the season, as three different running backs (Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Marcel Reece) and a quarterback (Terrelle Pryor) have topped 100 yards on the ground in at least one game. Jennings and McFadden will both be free agents after the season, so someone else may get a chance to emerge as Oakland’s No. 1 running back in 2014.
Latavius Murray was bothered by injuries throughout the preseason and has spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with an ankle injury after undergoing surgery in late August. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times recently speculated that he “looks the part and has all the skills” to be the Raiders’ starting tailback, but should fantasy football owners remember Murray’s name heading toward next year?
Murray had an excellent senior season at Central Florida in 2012 (198 carries for 1,106 yards and 15 touchdowns, 27 receptions for 231 yards and four touchdowns), and he finished his career with 43 total touchdowns (37 rushing, six receiving). He boosted his stock heading into last April’s draft with a good showing at the school’s Pro Day, most notably a 4.38-second 40-yard dash time, but he was still selected in the sixth round (181st overall) by Oakland.
Murray has drawn comparisons to McFadden in terms of running style and size (6’3″, 223 lbs; 6’2″, 210 lbs. for McFadden), but the Raiders’ brass and fantasy owners surely hope the similarities end there with McFadden’s lengthy injury history.
Murray’s fantasy value for 2014 will be largely dependent on the moves the Raiders make during the offseason, including the possibility of a new head coach and a new offensive system being put in place. But for now owners in deep dynasty leagues can consider adding him, since he could go to the top of the depth chart and the Raiders have typically had a productive rushing attack regardless of the chaos elsewhere in the organization.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.