"How stupid was your call against DeMarco Murray this week?"
Fairly stupid it would appear...
Most of the questions we had via email this past week -- were based around what to do between DeMarco Murray-Tashard Choice-Maurice Morris-Keiland Williams. We didn't heavily favor any of those four options, but we did advise not get too excited about Murray.
Media hysteria will reign down this week for Murray. All the makings are there -- an incredible game, a rookie, a Dallas Cowboy rookie, a big producer in college. He will be hailed as the new Tony Dorsett. We have Murray on 0.0% of teams we are associated with, so there is no decision for us to make...but we are going to likely guide Week-8 output lower than the rest of the world on Murray this week.
Are we stubborn, or stupid, or...? We are going to make a case for a "tempered approach" to DeMarco Murray...in fact, our guidance would be to trade him this week if you see a hysterical value. Why are we so against the latest "next greatest RB to ever play the game?"
Are you really going to tell me that this is going to happen again next week?
Randall Cobb had two TDs on opening day, and we guided that Cobb's value was now an unfounded hysteria, and that it was just a nice output blip....and many blasted us for that after Week-1. Anyone still have Randall Cobb from their waiver pick-up in Week-2?
Not saying that Murray is a dud, or a waste...actually the upcoming schedule is favorable. However, there has been no sign of this type of outburst happening. Up to now, Murray could not get out of his own way -- 24 carries for 71 yards, just 3.0 yards per carry...with his longest run at only 8 yards. There hasn't been a glimmer of this possible outburst among Murray's first 24 career carries.
This monster game was against a hapless St. Louis Rams team, a team that all but quit as this game went on. What have RBs done against the Rams in 2011 before this big Murray game?
Week-1 = LeSean McCoy had 15 carries for 122 rushing yards and 1 TD...137 yards total
Week-2 = Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 109 yards rushing and 171 yards overall
Week-3 = Ray Rice and Ricky Williams combined for 121 yards rushing, and 205 yards total
Week-4 = Ryan Torain literally walked off the inactive list and ran for 135 yards, as Torain-Helu-Hightower combined for 194 yards rushing, 198 yards total
Week-5 = the Rams best defensive week, vs. a Bye
Week-6 = Ryan Grant and James Starks combined for 74 yards rushing, and 118 yards total
The Rams have allowed 165.8 total yards per game to the group listed above.
DeMarco Murray had 162 yards yards in this Week-7 game, when you isolate away the 91-yard TD run on his first carry.
A RB that has shown no pre-disposition to this type of output prior, goes and blows up the porous Rams (like everyone else)...now we are all supposed to go crazy? I guess we all were going crazy over Ryan Torain a few weeks ago too....
I know what some are saying -- "Murray was awesome in college!" Our computer analysis finds a flaw with that assessment.
DeMarco Murray the Oklahoma years...
A huge career for Murray at Oklahoma -- 3,685 career rushing yards and 65 TDs (rush + rec + KR). He has to be great in the NFL, right?
What if I told you that in his last two season at Oklahoma, Murray had six 100+ yard rushing games in 25 games/final 2 seasons (not a great pace in the world of future NFL elite's). Of Murray's six 100+ yard rushing games in 2009-10, Murray only ran for 100+ yards against one team with a winning record...the Air Force.
Murray played in 16 conference games in his final two seasons in college, with only three 100+ yard rushing games...again, none of those efforts against a team with a winning record. You have to go back to 2008, his Sophomore season, where you can find a 100+ yard rushing game against a conference team with a winning record (the high pass/low defense Texas Tech of Mike Leach's era).
In Murray's toughest four games last year (vs. Oklahoma State, Nebraska, U Conn/Bowl Game, Florida State), he had no single game with over 4.0 yards per carry and an average of 71.0 rushing yards per game. Playing in a wide-open/heavy pass system like Oklahoma...Murray (to us) had very under-whelming output in college, when we analyze it closer.
The 2011 NFL Draft
Murray showed great speed at the NFL Combine with a 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash. However, he did not show very good agility metrics. No doubt given the space, Murray is going to outrun defenders in a straight line, i.e. the 91-yard TD this week.
There would appear to be a reason why Murray faded to become a 3rd-Round draft pick this past season. Not that the NFL has a perfect track record on drafting, far from it. Something doesn't add up for his NFL draft stock to fall, where as Murray's college stats and pre-hype dictated a potential 1st-Round draft pick level RB in the NFL.
How stupid do we feel?
In my 14-year-old son's 10-team Fantasy league at school, we did jump on the computer and add Murray from free agency real quick in the 4th Quarter...we're not stupid (open free agency period is sweet!). However, our intent would be to ride another possible good week against Philly...or more importantly -- try to package him up for something more stable.
We are certainly impressed with Murray's game this week. We also know after the 91-yard run, Murray had 21 yards on his next 9 carries in the first half. Later he broke another 30+ yard big run against a downtrodden Rams squad, on his/Dallas's way to just beating down the Rams in the 2nd-half.
We're still skeptics on Murray, because the computer tells us to be skeptical...and sometimes the computer is wrong. However, week-to-week human-hysteria is not running a great track record by comparison. We'll stick by our computer analysis long-term on Murray...but for this week, we're stupid.