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Why It's Time To Buy In On Kyler Murray In Fantasy Football

Kyler Murray - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, Draft Targets

Fantasy football in its simplest form is a game of numbers. The players play and whatever stats they put up in real life, you get for your fantasy team. Even more than that fantasy football is a game of perception as two fantasy players can look at a player and come to two totally different opinions. 

Undoubtedly even more influential than the opinion of one fantasy player is the opinion of the market. The market value on a player can change year-to-year and in dynasty leagues, you should be looking to capitalize on that, especially when a player is being valued at their floor. 

That is exactly what is happening right now with Kyler Murray. The former unquestioned QB1 in fantasy is now being overlooked even after a successful return from a torn ACL. Kyler’s value being down last year made sense, but it has yet to fully rebound -- not even close. And that creates a buying opportunity. 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Why You Should Not Write Off Kyler Murray

After tearing his ACL late in the 2022 season, Murray made his much anticipated return to the field in Week 10 of 2023. He played eight games last year and finished with 1,799 passing yards and 10 touchdowns while running 44 times for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers do not blow you away, which is why he is largely being valued the way that he is, but it looks better the deeper you dive. 

First, it's unfair to judge raw numbers when a player plays in only half the season. On a per game basis, Murray averaged 225 passing yards per game. That was more than what he put up in 2022, although less than his two seasons prior. His yards per attempt and completion was on par with 2022 as well. 

As a runner, there was not much of a falloff. Murray posted the second-highest rushing success rate of his career, per PFR. His 5.5 yards per attempt is right in his career norm range (5.8). He once again averaged over 30 rushing yards per game, as he has done in every season of his career. But he did so despite averaging a career low 5.5 carries per game. Plus, he was a consistent runner week to week. He ran for at least 20 yards in all but one game. In total, Murray picked up 29 percent of his fantasy points last year from rushing production. That matches both his career norm and 2022 rate of 30 percent. 

Murray being able to match his career norm rushing production despite being fresh off of an ACL injury is extremely encouraging for the future. It could take some time for a player to fully regain not only their previous burst and speed, but also to regain trust in the knee. Murray not only didn’t miss a beat statistically speaking, but he could improve and look even more like the Murray of old next season. 

 

What Can Change for Kyler Murray in 2024

If you play fantasy football, you have likely heard the term regression thrown around. Regression can be both positive or negative and in the case of Murray, I would anticipate some positive regression in arguably the most important category there is -- touchdown percent. 

Last season, Murray sported a 3.7 percent passing touchdown rate. It was 3.6 percent in 2022, and his career norm is 4.2 percent. Perhaps we should not expect a huge jump, but there is definitely room for improvement. Last season, of the top-32 QBs, only 10 had a worse touchdown percent than Kyler and the names are extremely unimpressive.

QBs that either started off as backups such as Aidan O'Connell, Gardner Minshew, and Joshua Dobbs or were disappointing starters like Sam Howell, Joshua Dobbs, Mac Jones, Zach Wilson, Bryce Young, and Kenny Pickett. No offense to those QBs, but they are not Kyler Murray. Even a 1 percent increase over the course of a full season would put him in the range to throw between 25 and 30 touchdowns. His career high is 26. 

But I am not just expecting regression for regression’s sake. Look at who Murray was throwing the ball to after he returned in Week 10 of the year. His top target, earning nearly twice as much volume as every other Cardinal, was Trey McBride. The young breakout tight end will once again be in Arizona. But his receivers were Greg Dortch, Rondale Moore, an injured Marquise Brown, and Michael Wilson, who were both in and out of the lineup.

The Cardinals now have the fourth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and could add a generational talent like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze.  

The Cardinals could have their pick of the generational wide receiver available in this year's draft. And why does that matter? Well, Murray was at his best both as a real-life QB and fantasy option when he had DeAndre Hopkins as his top option. A high-end receiver to go along with Trey McBride gives Murray two high-end targets he can throw toward. That should naturally help increase his numbers. 

Plus, the Cardinals have the ninth-most cap space heading into free agency, according to Spotrac. That means they could bolster their offense through both the draft and free agency if they chose to do so. The talent around Murray last year was pretty barren, but it could be the exact opposite for the former No. 1 overall pick this season. 

 

Kyler Murray’s Fantasy Football Cost

In early best ball drafts, Murray is going off the board as the QB11. He is going nearly 30 picks later than C.J. Stroud, and just behind Justin Fields and Jordan Love. He is surely going behind those QBs in dynasty leagues. That is despite putting up nearly identical numbers on a per-game basis last year. Stroud averaged 18.4 fantasy PPG, Love was at 18.77, Fields at 17.7, and Murray at 18.3. And remember, that was a down year by Murray’s standards. 

It is easier to understand in dynasty, given the ages of the QBs. But Murray is still only entering his age-27 season. So, there should be plenty of very valuable fantasy seasons ahead for the Cardinals signal-caller. Murray could see himself drafted as a top-eight fantasy QB again if things break his way the next couple of months. But even if the ADP never catches up, it just makes Murray more of a value. He has finished in the top 10 among QBs in fantasy PPG every season since his rookie year. 

Murray can be had right now in non-Superflex drafts for cheap. According to Dynasty League Football, he was recently traded for a 2024 Round 3 draft pick. Even if you have to bump that up a full round, that is a great trade and one worth making. He will always cost more in a Superflex draft, but even in those, his perceived value is down. 

There is a strong argument to be made that Murray’s value will never be this low again. Not at least until his later years in the NFL. The only time he was probably more affordable was last offseason when we knew he was going to miss at least half the season. But you cannot go back in time and trade for Kyler then. You still can go out and acquire him now -- and it would be smart to do so. 

Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.



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