Target Acquired: Latavius Murray
I don’t know if you guys have noticed this, but the Rotoviz staff tends to have favorites the vast majority of the football and fantasy football community have no interest in. Like Zac Stacy and Charles Johnson, Latavius Murray was a pre-draft favorite of the staff. Murray was our composite ranked 10th overall back before the draft. Plenty of work has been done our Murray’s outstanding physical profile and college production on this very site. Frank deemed him a ‘Can’t Miss Running Back Prospect‘ and Ryan did a study on the 2013 RB class here. It is well established that Murray was undervalued by NFL teams and was allowed to fall all the way to the Oakland Raiders in round 6, pick 181. The Raiders badly needed a back up running back after Mike Goodson’s departure and Taiwan Jone’s move to cornerback.
Latavius Murray presents a unique opportunity for redraft leagues in 2013 and long term dynasty. He is currently situated to back up Darren McFadden. In his career McFadden has missed 3, 4, 3, 9, and 4 games. I am not going to get into the debate of whether or not athletes can actually be injury prone, but the simple fact is that McFadden consistently misses larges chunks of time to lower-body injuries. This why when Micheal Bush was McFadden’s handcuff, his ADP was always the among the highest of back up running backs and why a 260 pound fullback was a hot waiver wire pick up.
Unlike Bush and Reece, however, Murray is an unknown fantasy football commodity. Bush was a highly heralded prospect coming out of college, despite suffering a broken leg in college. Reece had the fortune of being mentioned on the ESPN Fantasy Focus podcast and consistently mentioned on the FootballGuys waiver wire section and The Audible. For 2013, Reece will be the performer fresh on the minds of the masses. His current ADP, according to MFL is as the 69th running back taken which would lead me to believe that most believe the Oakland backup situation is unresolved; and it was. Before Murray.
Murray is a physical specimen, weighing 223 pounds and running a 4.38 40. Compare that to the other options on the roster. Rashad Jennings was a promising young talent with Jacksonville, the heir apparent to Maurice Jones Drew. Then he spent on a year on the IR under cloudy circumstances then averaged a disgusting 2.8 yards per carry in 2012 and was shipped out of town. Jennings ran a 4.52 40 at a similar weight to Murray. Jeremy Stewart ran a 4.55 at a measly 217 pounds. Just speaking on a purely physical level, Murray has more weight and power than Darren McFadden himself, with a nearly identical 40 time.
McFadden is going to start. Make no qualms about that; but if (read: WHEN) McFadden goes down, Latavius Murray is going to be next in line. Take advantage of the fact that everyone will be spending 8th and 9th round selections on guys like Ben Tate and Bernard Pierce or trying to figure out the Rams or Saints backfield. Murry’s ADP will be nonexistent or very, very cheap. Spend your 4th round rookie dynasty picks and snatch him up in the 18th round and wait.