Heading into the 2013 NFL season, many fantasy football general managers questioned Murray’s durability. In his rookie season in 2011, Murray played in 13 games and had 164 carries on the season. In 2012, he played in only 10 games and had 161 carries. In 2013, Murray was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners — he played in 14 games and carried the ball 217 times for 1,124 yards, nine touchdowns, and averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, Murray was the 7th-ranked running back in terms of fantasy points in standard scoring leagues in 2013. He put up 205 points, which actually put him 17th overall for fantasy purposes. To put that in perspective, he put up 231 fantasy points in his first two seasons, so the numbers indicate that Murray will be a hot commodity in the upcoming season. Looking at those numbers, it seems likely that fantasy owners will value Murray very highly heading into the 2014 fantasy draft.
One of the major issues with Murray’s fantasy value is the fact that he plays for the Cowboys, which is a team full of talented skill players and a very capable quarterback in Tony Romo. The Cowboys have so many issues throughout every season from play calling, game management, and just pure bad luck, that Murray’s value will ultimately take a hit.
A prime example would be in the Cowboys’ epic fourth-quarter collapse against the Green Bay Packers this past season; Murray finished the game averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Throughout the entire fourth quarter, the Cowboys kept passing the ball and watched their lead evaporate and kept the clock stopped. Murray was almost completely ignored at the end of the game.
It is situations like that that make Murray an unattractive option at times, but the blame can’t be put on him for situations like that. Heading into the 2014 season, Murray should be viewed as a high end RB-2 to start the season, however, due to what team he plays for, his fantasy value will take a hit and he can be viewed as a mid level RB-2. There is no doubt about Murray’s ability, but giving him a mid level RB-2 label should prevent fantasy owners from drafting him too soon and getting burned by all of the Cowboys’ extra baggage.
Don’t think this article is meant to steer owners away from Murray. He will still be very valuable in fantasy terms this season, just don’t value him too highly for the aforementioned reasons.