Running back Latavius Murray of the Oakland Raiders may not be a name that many fantasy football general managers are familiar with, but by the end of the 2014 NFL season, he will become well-known in the fantasy realm. He is a player who will be entering his second year in the league after spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Even though many fantasy football GMs may have never seen or heard of Murray, the stars seemed to be aligned for him to see some significant playing time in the upcoming season.
The Raiders surprised everyone with their recent offseason decisions, when they chose to let their leading rusher from last season, Rashad Jennings, leave for the New York Giants in free agency. Then they went ahead and signed former first-round pick Darren McFadden, who hasn’t played in a full NFL season his entire career. Due to McFadden’s inability to stay healthy throughout his career, it seems likely that Murray will be on the field a lot in the 2014 season.
Fantasy GMs unsure what to make of Murray should look no further than the impressive numbers he posted as a senior at Central Florida. He was an absolute physical machine who had 19 total touchdowns and over 1,300 total yards in 11 games in his senior season. If he can translate any of what he showed in college into the NFL, then he may even have a chance to win the starting job away from McFadden.
Despite the Raiders’ inability to string wins together consistently last year, they were able to get decent fantasy production from their running backs. According to Pro Football Reference, McFadden started last season with three games in double-digit fantasy points and Jennings finished the season with five games in double-digit fantasy points. Statistics like that indicate that Murray has a real opportunity to excel in Dennis Allen’s offense. Heading into the fantasy drafts, GMs should consider Murray as a RB4 with a lot of upside, especially if he has the ability to win the starting gig in Oakland.