Should Fantasy Football Owners Add Latavius Murray?

Is there any fantasy value to be had in the Raiders backfield?

For nine games this season, the Raiders ignored Latavius Murray. They have continued to give touches to the “meh” and oft-injured Darren McFadden and the rotting husk of Maurice Jones-Drew. That wasn’t smart.

In Week 10 against the San Diego Chargers, Latavius Murray finally registered a meaningful 45% of snaps and received 7 touches for 59 total yards, which are season-highs for him. He ripped off one 22-yard run that actually gave the Raiders a semblance of a potent rushing attack, which rookie quarterback Derek Carr desperately needs.

The Raiders are 0-10. They have not won since November 17, 2013. Barring an unlikely winning streak, they will likely have another top-10 selection in the draft for the 7th time since 2006. They obviously aren’t going anywhere this season. Oakland should immediately start Latavius Murray and see what they have.

Latavius Murray’s Profile: One To Love?

Latavius Murray is tall and fairly fast/agile given his size. Here are his workout metrics, per RotoUnderworld’s “Player Profiler” app. Athleticism score summarizes a running back’s workout performances nominalized by BMI. Agility score sums a prospects 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill times to measure short area quickness and balance. Percentiles are in parentheses.

NameHeightWeight 40-timeVert-jumpAgility ScoreAthleticism Score
Murray6'2"223 lbs4.43 (92nd)36" (68th)11.17 (65th)100.3 (55th)

Latavius Murray actually compares fairly well to Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, and Ryan Mathews given his relative size, speed, and agility score. His workout scores are pretty nice - but does he have opportunity? How effective has Murray been?

Raiders Backfield Woes

Oakland’s backfield has been a dumpster-fire. Darren McFadden has been relatively ineffective and Maurice Jones-Drew has been awful since 2012. Even though Murray’s sample size is relatively small, he has been “The Black Hole’s” best back.

NameAtt.YardsYPCTDsRush NEPSuccess Rate

Latavius Murray has been better in the pass game, too.

NameTargetsRec. YardsTDsRec. NEPTarget NEP

For whatever reason, the Raiders have completely neglected Murray all season. He hurt his ankle in 2013 and missed much of the season - but there is zero reason they should not see what they have in the second-year player from UCF. He’s been pretty effective with his fairly small workload, but he definitely deserves his shot at a more than reasonable amount of touches.

Fantasy Implications - Working The Wire

There is a good bet Latavius Murray is still available in your fantasy league along with Sunday Night Football-breakout-star, Jonas Gray. If I had to choose between the two for one roster spot, I think I would chose Jonas Gray - but it’s close. Latavius Murray obviously lacks the upside of Gray due to Oakland’s inept offense, yet there aren’t many potential starting running backs left on league waiver wires.

What is good for us, is given opportunity (12 to 15 touches per game) most running backs in the NFL can be sufficient weekly fantasy options. Therefore, if Murray starts for Oakland and continues to receive a significant snap share, there could be some upside in the Raiders’ waters.

It’s probably wise to go ahead and conditionally add Murray this week, even if you aren’t running back-needy. At this point in the re-draft season, the waiver wire is worn pretty thin of potential starting running backs.