Week Fourteen Analysis:
DeMarco Murray's two fatal flaws have always been that he's injury-prone, and that he doesn't score. However, he's healthy now, and he's coming off a Thanksgiving touchdown trifecta. He's also averaged 19 touches for 108 combo yards over the last three weeks, so he's established a very solid floor. And his upside is almost unlimited. Over Chicago's last nine games, opposing backfields have scored 13 times and averaged over 178 combo yards. That includes over 200 combo yards in each of the last two games, so congratulations, Murray owners—you've hit the matchup jackpot.
Week Thirteen Analysis:
Over the last two seasons, DeMarco Murray has scored and/or topped 70 combo yards in 18 of 19 games, so when he's healthy, he's a high-floor RB2 with weekly RB1 upside. Unfortunately, we can probably expect something on the lower end of that spectrum this week. Oakland—shockingly—ranks top-10 against opposing backs in both rushing and receiving yards, and only one back has run for over 90 yards on them all season. Conversely, their 26th-ranked pass defense has been torched by both Nick Foles and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the last month, so the path of least resistance for Dallas will be through the air.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Quietly, the Giants have turned into a formidable opponent for opposing fantasy backs. They've only allowed one touchdown to the position in their last five games, and during that span opposing starters have averaged just 78 combo yards on 3.2 yards per carry. That dominance hasn't been a product of a soft schedule, either—those five starters were Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Eddie Lacy and the red hot Rashad Jennings. DeMarco Murray has scored in three of his last four games, and he's posted at least 125 combo yards in each of his last two matchups with the Giants. He's earned the start, but keep expectations in check.
Week Ten Analysis:
Last week DeMarco Murray averaged a sparkling 7.8 yards per carry against the Vikings. Unfortunately, that came on just four carries, as Dallas ran the ball a franchise record-low nine times. Murray's six catches helped ease the pain in PPR leagues, but overall it was a wasted opportunity against a beatable opponent. Murray was averaging 98 combo yards and a half-touchdown per game prior to the anomaly, and he'll look to rebound against a Saints run defense that's surrendered four rushing scores in their last three games. Chris Ivory just ran through them for 139 yards and a score on 18 carries, so it's a strong matchup assuming Dallas remembers the other half of their playbook.
Week Nine Analysis:
DeMarco Murray looks like he'll return this week, and his timing couldn't be better. Prior to his minor knee injury, Murray was averaging 98 combo yards and a half-touchdown per game. He could fall off the trainer's table and hit those numbers against the Vikings. Minnesota has surrendered 10 scores to opposing backs in just seven games, and they allow 156 combo yards per game to the position. Their biggest problem is defending backs in the passing game, where their league-worst 66-yard per game average is nearly 10 yards more than the next team on the list. Murray is a very good pass catcher, so this is a perfect matchup for him.
Week Six Analysis:
Last week the Cowboys racked up 48 points and 522 yards from scrimmage in an epic shootout against the Broncos. So, DeMarco Murray must have had a monster game, right? Well, not exactly. He delivered season lows of 13 touches and 48 combo yards. Still, he did collect one of Dallas' six touchdowns, and he's now scored and/or topped 70 combo yards in all 15 of his games over the last two seasons. With that in mind, Murray has a very high floor this week against a bottom-five Washington run defense that's giving up 173 combo yards per game to opposing backs.
Week Five Analysis:
DeMarco Murray ranks third among backs in rushing yards and eighth in receiving yards, putting him on pace for nearly 2,000 combo yards. His 21 receptions also rank fifth among backs, but the rub is that, assuming he miraculously stays healthy for 16 games, he's also on pace for just four touchdowns. And that would match his career high. He's still never had a multiple-touchdown game in 27 career outings, but maybe this is the week. Despite surrendering just 2.7 yards per carry, Denver ranks bottom-five against opposing backs in the passing game, and they've given up a league-worst seven touchdowns to the position.
Week Four Analysis:
The stars seem to align perfectly whenever DeMarco Murray plays the Rams. After last week's thrashing, he's now averaged 228 combo yards and a score in two career meetings with St. Louis. Those are inexplicable numbers for a guy who had been a black hole in his 16 games prior to last Sunday, averaging 88 combo yards and one touchdown every fourth game. The Chargers have yet to give up a score to an opposing back, and while they've surrendered 145 combo yards per game, that's come against Chris Johnson, LeSean McCoy and the Foster/Tate tandem in Houston. Murray's a decent play, but don't be fooled by last week's performance.
Week Three Analysis:
Over DeMarco Murray's last 16 games—the equivalent of a full season—he's scored four touchdowns and rushed for under 1,000 yards. Moreover, he's had exactly one 100-yard game, and he's averaged a paltry 3.9 yards per carry. Despite those horrifying numbers, he's still held in relatively high regard in the fantasy community. Maybe it's because we can't forget his 253-yard coming out party against these same Rams midway through his rookie year. However, this season's Rams defense has held opposing backs to just 2.9 yards per carry. Murray's 13 catches trail only Matt Forte, and that's his best bet here. Jason Garrett says he wants to run Murray more. It might not matter.
Week Two Analysis:
For the second consecutive season, DeMarco Murray had an encouraging opener against the Giants. He carried a healthy 20 times for 86 yards, and tied for a league-high amongst backs with eight catches for another 39 yards. Of course, he failed to score, because he never scores. He's now averaged exactly one touchdown every four games throughout his career. Gross. The Chiefs ranked 27th against the run last season, and while they held Maurice Jones-Drew to just 45 yards in the opener, they'll actually have to consider playing pass defense this week. Start Murray with confidence, and expect good yardage numbers with exactly a 25 percent chance of a score.
Week One Analysis:
Health is always one of the biggest variables in the DeMarco Murray equation, and currently, he's healthy! Unfortunately, we're still looking at a guy who, despite being a 6'0", 227-lb. load, has scored just six touchdowns in 23 career games. Like last season, the Giants project as a neutral opponent, and Murray himself is a middle-of-the road starting fantasy back. Murray ran for a season-high 131 yards on 20 carries against these same Giants in last year's opener, and New York didn't make any notable upgrades to their run defense. It's a winnable matchup, so you might as well start Murray while you can.
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DeMarco Murray is one of those guys who always leave us wanting more. Physically, he's the total package. Except when he's not… Murray couldn't stay healthy at Oklahoma, and that rap has followed him to the pros, where he's missed nine games in his first two seasons. His rushing average also dipped from 5.5 to 4.1 in his second season, and for a guy of his size playing in a top-10 offense, Murray should have way more than six touchdowns in 385 career touches. The team made some strides to improve a terrible offensive line, but it's still a bottom-third unit. The pass-happy Cowboys are expected to balance things out this season, but if history is any indication, leaning on Murray is a bad idea for both Dallas and fantasy owners.