This new series will examine the fantasy football status of key players returning from injuries…See the entire series HERE.

 

THE INJURY

Demarco Murray suffered a season ending injury to his right ankle (in week 14) that required surgery.  Last week Murray reported that he is healthy, ready for camp, and able to do anything the coaches may ask of him.  The 6’0″, 215 pound RB was having an excellent rookie season before his season was abruptly ended against the Giants.  In his first season, Murray rushed for 897 yards on 164 carries, averaging a whopping 5.5 YPC.  He also added 26 receptions for 183 yards.  Considering he didn’t really take over as the primary back until week 6, his stats are amazing.  In the eight weeks as the Dallas feature back, Murray topped 20 carries in 5 games and hauled in 4 or more receptions in four games. The future is bright for this emerging star.

OTHER EXPERT OPINIONS

KFFL.com has Demarco Murray ranked 8th overall in their 2012 PPR Rankings.

In this ESPN round table video their fantasy experts discuss Murray.  Eric Karabell has concerns about time share but Christopher Harris makes a couple valid points for why he has Murray at #9 at RB.

Rotoworld.com says that workload shouldn’t be an issue and that with 2012 being a very thin year for top tier RBs Murray could be worthy of a first round pick.

FANTASY FOOTBALL SPIN

There are a couple reasons to have some doubt about Demarco Murray as an RB1.  First he could be in a time share situation if Felix Jones isn’t traded and performs well early in the season.  Second, some question whether or not Murray really is a feature back.  Some of that stems from the fact that 253 of his 897 rushing yards came against the pathetic Rams defense.  Murray averaged  less than 4.0 ypc in only two games, however, and played with consistency and explosiveness.  The final reasons pointed to by skeptics, legitimately I might add, is his low TD total (2).

FFSpin readers also have their doubts.  Our current poll lists four running backs and asks which of them are being overvalued based on current ADP; Demarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and Trent Richardson.  Our readers have voted Murray as the second most overvalued behind Trent Richardson.

This is a strange season where there simply are not many running backs that feel like locks to be fantasy studs.  With the prevalence of committee backfields still growing and some of the top rushers coming off of injuries or beginning to succumb to wear and tear, Murray is being looked at as a top 12 running back.  He has an enticing combination of size and speed and the Cowboys are clearly disappointed with Fragile Felix Jones who can’t stay healthy (missed 4 games in 2011).  Murray won’t get 300 carries but he should approach 300 total touches.

In the games between Murray gaining control of the Cowboys top spot and getting injured he averaged 19 rushing attempts per game.  Felix Jones wasn’t healthy for some of that stretch so even if we assume that Jones will cut into his workload an average of just 14 carries per game would equate to 224 carries for Murray in his sophomore season.  We estimate 50 catches for Murray and that equals 274 total touches.  Those projections for carries and receptions could be on the conservative side and would most likely put Murray somewhere between the 6th and 10th best fantasy RB.

He obviously has tremendous value in dynasty leagues, especially if you play in a league where you surrender a pick corresponding to his original draft slot.  We’re fans of Murray (well, living in Philadelphia that may be going too far) and we are comfortable saying that Murray is a top 10 fantasy running back for 2012 – a year with multiple question marks among the top tier fantasy RBs.

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