Many expected DeMarco Murray to be an elite running back this season after bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 2011. However, that has clearly not been the case. So, what exactly is the problem?
I have mentioned this stat several times before, but I think it is worth repeating. Let’s take a look at Murray’s total yards from 2011 both with and without fullback Tony Fiammetta in the lineup:
- With Fiammetta – 601 yards (about 150 per game)
- Without Fiammetta – 198 yards (about 66 per game)
That is a stark difference and, while the hope had been that Lawrence Vickers would do a similar job in 2012, it hasn’t been the case. While it isn’t fair to put the sole blame on the fullback, at this point it would appear to be a major part of the problem.
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at just what Murray has done thus far this season:
- Week 1 – New York Giants – 131 yards on 20 carries
- Week 2 – Seattle – 44 yards on 12 carries
- Week 3 – Tampa Bay – 38 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries
- Week 4 – Chicago – 24 yards on 11 carries
One thing is obvious at first glance, they aren’t giving Murray enough carries. Yes, he did have 7 receptions for 57 yards on Monday night, but that isn’t enough. His most impressive game came in the opening week, when the team gave him 20 carries. Granted, that number was skewed by a 48 yard romp, but even if you take that out it was by far his best performance of the season.
The next question we have to ask is if we can simply chalk up these performances to the defenses he has faced. The Seahawks, Bears and Buccaneers are in the Top 5 in rushing yards allowed, so there is something to that argument.
After a bye week things should get a little bit easier. The Ravens are a good defense, but have allowed running backs to find the end zone (6 rushing touchdowns allowed). Then you have the Carlina Panthers, who got torched by journeyman Andre Brown of the New York Giants. Then comes a rematch with New York and the Atlanta Falcons, who are currently allowing 146.2 rushing yards per game.
In other words, there is still hope that he turns it around. Would I call it a lock? No,because that opening stat keeps replaying in my mind. Could Fiammetta have really been the key to Murray’s success? In the next month, we will certainly find out.
From a strategy perspective, at this point I wouldn’t want to sell low. The fact is, there is no chance of getting great value back for him. However, if someone in your league does want to part with him I wouldn’t hesitate to slide him on to your bench and see what happens. The matchups tell us things should get better, so why not try to take advantage while the vale is at it’s lowest point.
What are your thoughts of Murray? Will he rebound? Are you buying or selling?
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: