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My Favorite Dynasty Buy Low – DeMarco Murray

This post is part of a series of articles where various RotoViz writers name their favorite buy low for dynasty fantasy football, with a look at the 2016 NFL season and beyond. At the conclusion of the series, the authors will get together to rank the various nominations in one final post. In this installment, Tim Talmadge discusses his pick, DeMarco Murray.

In fantasy football there is no better buy low than a special talent. And regardless of what you think the cause of DeMarco Murray‘s down year in 2015 was, there’s one thing that can’t be denied – Murray is a special talent.

In case recency bias has washed away your memory, remember he has made a push for both the single game rushing record and the single season rushing record over his five year career. Not only that but he is one of only eight players in NFL history to have 1,000 attempts, 200 receptions and average 4.5 yards per carry by the age of 27.

Games Rushing Receiving
From To Tm G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G
Ahman Green 1998 2004 TOT 107 72 1528 7177 4.70 49 67.1 373 285 2190 7.68 13 20.5
Barry Sanders* 1989 1995 DET 105 103 2077 10172 4.90 73 96.9 234 258 2180 8.45 7 20.8
LeSean McCoy 2009 2015 TOT 102 88 1664 7687 4.62 47 75.4 433 332 2574 7.75 12 25.2
Maurice Jones-Drew 2006 2012 JAX 99 55 1570 7268 4.63 63 73.4 389 292 2559 8.76 11 25.8
Frank Gore 2005 2010 SFO 84 71 1371 6414 4.68 35 76.4 390 270 2283 8.46 9 27.2
Jamaal Charles 2008 2013 KAN 80 49 1043 5823 5.58 29 72.8 317 222 1975 8.90 14 24.7
Chris Johnson 2008 2012 OTI 79 77 1463 6888 4.71 44 87.2 318 230 1658 7.21 4 21.0
DeMarco Murray 2011 2015 TOT 68 55 1127 5228 4.64 34 76.9 262 214 1518 7.09 2 22.3

WAS 2015 AS BAD AS IT SEEMED?

To fairly analyze Murray’s performance I want to focus on the games before the controversy between Murray and Chip Kelly came out. According the Snap Report App he played 53% of the snaps from Week 1 to Week 12 but from Week 13 on he only played on 25%. Clearly this affected his output.

DemarcoMurraysplits

Sixteen games of that workload would’ve only made him a top five RB. Decent if you’re into that sort of thing. According to the Fantasy Efficiency App, his rushing fantasy points over expectation per attempt (ruFPOEPA) wasn’t much different than a few guys that finished the year as RB1s.

Name ruATTMS ruEP ruFPOE ruFPOEPA
DeMarco Murray .48 91.78 14.22 .07
Latavius Murray .72 124.05 18.55 .07
Chris Ivory .57 128.99 20.01 .08

The big takeaway here is he was producing like a top end RB option even if it didn’t always feel like it. Personal issues with the Coach seemed to derail his workload but most of his owners will only remember the poor emotions they dealt with if they trotted out Murray down the stretch.

WILL HIS USAGE INCREASE IN 2016?

This is a question that’s hard to answer but it’s also the question that keeps the window open to buy low. The Eagles hired new Head Coach Doug Pederson, an Andy Reid disciple, and we know they were never shy about feeding “President” Jamaal Charles over the last three seasons.  In fact, according to the Projection Machine the top RB for the Chiefs received roughly 55% of the workload over that time.

Your immediate thought after reading that was likely “the Chiefs never had a Ryan Mathews” and that’s probably true but we saw this year that they had some quality backups and it didn’t deter them from riding their top option before his injury.

CONCLUSION

Basing the argument off of Murray receiving consistent usage is admittedly a bit hairy because it’s far from guaranteed. However, the possibility of it happening makes him an outstanding buy low because his career productivity is in such special company.

Considering that he had an ADP of 9th overall heading into 2015, acquiring him for anything near his current value (69.8) is a clear bargain. I’d be looking to offload career WR3 prototypes like Kendall Wright or Willie Snead, or possibly even Doug Baldwin in a buy low/sell high because that type of receiver production is often replaceable.

This type of move is probably best for teams in “win now” mode because Murray is 28 years old and trending towards the inevitable wall most older RB’s hit. But concerns like that are another reason you can get him on clearance. Remember, fantasy football isn’t a game won by those playing not to lose. Stay aggressive my friends.

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