Kyler Murray is one of the more exciting prospects in the NFL draft this season. Once the dual-sport athlete declared for the draft, he has skyrocketed in mock drafts. With so many quarterbacks drafted in the past few years, it is still anyone’s guess where Murray will end up. With some teams, he may have to sit on the bench for a while. Some, he will probably end up taking over the starting job at some point in the season However, there are a few teams that will set him up very well for success in fantasy football.
Fantasy Football: Best Team Fits for Kyler Murray
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How it Could Happen
An interesting fact about this year’s draft is that all of the top five teams already have a quarterback. Many project Murray as a top-five pick, but unless a team decides to trade up, there is a chance Murray falls. The Arizona Cardinals have the first overall pick in the draft. They have been rumored to be shopping Josh Rosen, who they just drafted as their quarterback of the future last season. However, it seems unlikely, and rather wasteful to move on from a first-round pick that soon.
The New York Jets just took Sam Darnold in last year’s draft, and seem satisfied. They pick third. The San Francisco 49ers are squeezed in between them at the number two spot and have hardly got any use out of their guy, Jimmy Garoppolo. That leaves only the Oakland Raiders as a threat to take Murray before the Bucs number five pick. If they don’t, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are next in line
Tampa Bay still has former number one overall pick Jameis Winston on the roster, but his time with the team has been tumultuous as of late. Winston was suspended to start last season due to misconduct allegations, but once he was back, he was continuously benched and unbenched during the season. Winston still shows promise, but the team could decide to move on from their troubled signal caller and start fresh with new coach Bruce Arians.
What It Would Look Like
If they do, however, the Buccaneers would be a good landing spot for Murray. The team already boasts the towering wide receiver Mike Evans and promising young receiver Chris Godwin. Evans is coming into his sixth season in the league and has at least 1,000 yards receiving each year. In fact, he had arguably his best season in 2018, racking up 1,524 yards and eight touchdowns. Godwin is not a scrub either, scoring seven touchdowns and accumulating 842 yards last season. The team also has plenty more weapons at tight end in O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
These are all players who can get down the field in a hurry, meaning that Murray could easily hit them for huge gains when Murray scrambles and gets outside the pocket. This will translate to a ton of fantasy points.
The team’s weakness is at running back, as Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones were disappointing last season. However, that only means that Murray might get more opportunities to run the ball to balance the team. Although Murray can sit and sling it from the pocket all day, there is no doubt that he is speedy, and slippery, giving him a great floor that Arians will be sure to take advantage of to give his offense more options.
How it Could Happen
The Denver Broncos pick tenth in this year’s draft. In the last two drafts, quarterbacks went at number ten by teams trading up. The Cardinals moved up to pick Rosen last year. Then, in 2017, the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to acquire Patrick Mahomes. The Broncos could just sit pretty and wait to see if Murray or even Dwayne Haskins just fall into their lap. Sure, they just traded for veteran Joe Flacco, but despite general manager John Elway’s comments, Flacco is in the twilight of his career.
It is entirely feasible that Murray makes it to Denver at 10. If the Bucs don’t take him at five, the next two spots are his biggest chance to get drafted. The New York Giants pick sixth, and like Flacco, Eli Manning is almost at the end of the line in the NFL. However, it is more likely that they go after Haskins if they take a quarterback at all. The Jacksonville Jaguars are next at seven. This is probably where Murray falls at the worst, so unless the Broncos trade up, their chances at Murray are slim.
Still, it’s fun to project what might happen if he does land with the Broncos.
What It Would Look Like
Whereas Tampa Bay’s strength lies in their receiving corps, the Broncos are best when they keep the ball on the ground. Rookie Royce Freeman was expected to come in and lead the backfield, and to his credit, he looked great. However, undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay looked like something special, and couldn’t be kept off the field. They both combined for over 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. Adding Murray to this backfield will create a three-headed monster that invokes images of many read options and run-pass-options.
Still, the Broncos receivers are no joke either. Veteran Emmanuel Sanders led the team in receptions and yards last year. However, he didn’t finish the season, tearing his Achilles during practice early in December. Rookie Courtland Sutton stepped in and looked promising, gaining 704 yards on just 42 catches. The two complement each other well. Sanders is shiftier and a great route runner. Sutton is bigger, who does well on 50/50 balls.
The biggest issue with Murray would be getting on the field if they draft him. After trading for Flacco, there is no way Denver doesn’t at least start the season with him. However, it could be like Groundhog Day for Flacco after getting benched in favor of the dynamic rookie Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens.
How it Could Happen
Say Murray is still on the board at 10, but Elway is still convinced that Flacco is just entering his prime, and they pass on Murray. The next team up is the Cincinnati Bengals, and there is no way that he makes it past them. Andy Dalton has been the quarterback for the team for the past eight seasons. He hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t shown that he can do enough to take the team over the top either. With a new coaching staff in town, they could decide to cut ties with the self-proclaimed “Red Rifle.”
However, chances are slim that Cincinnati lands Murray by sitting pretty at the 11th pick. They probably will have to trade up, but teams like Tampa Bay or Detroit might be willing to make a deal. From there, it will still be an uphill battle for Murray to see the field with Dalton still on the roster. So fantasy team owners will have to wait and see with Murray the Bengals end up finding a way to pull the trigger.
What it Would Look Like
Compared to the Buccaneers and Broncos, a Bengals marriage is the least likely, but the offensive core around him would be the best of the three teams. Tampa Bay has great wide receivers. Denver has the edge in running backs. Cincinnati has the best of both worlds.
Wide Receiver A.J. Green has struggled to stay on the field in recent years, missing 15 games in the past three years. However, when he is out there, he is arguably a top-five wide receiver. Every season he has played at least 13 games he has over 1,000 yards receiving and six touchdowns. Tyler Boyd had a breakout year last season, going over 1,000 yards as well. When the two of them are on the field, it’s tough to stop the pass.
From there, the Bengals have Joe Mixon on the ground. Mixon looked great in his second season, running for almost 1,200 yards, even though he missed a few games with a knee injury. He scored eight touchdowns and had boasted 4.9 yards-per-carry. Don’t forget Giovani Bernard, who acts as a safety valve in the passing game and can run as well. Murray would love being able to dump the ball off to any of these guys and have them do the rest on any down.
Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders
If there is one thing anyone has learned about Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, it is that he is wildly unpredictable. Sure, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to trade for a veteran wide receiver like Antonio Brown, only to trade away what looked to be their franchise quarterback. But Gruden doesn’t operate on the same common sense that most of the league does.
There are already way too many rumors around that Gruden is sold on Derek Carr as his quarterback. These rumors haven’t died down, especially after Murray’s pro day. It could all be a smokescreen to get teams to sell the farm to acquire Oakland’s number four pick, so they won’t miss out on the Murray sweepstakes. However, we’re talking about a man who traded away a generational talent in his prime.
Still, if the Silver and Black do have their eyes on Murray, as long as Arizona doesn’t do the unthinkable and grab a quarterback in the first round for the second year in a row, he will be available to them.
And if he is, he’ll have a wildly creative play caller and a top-three wide receiver. And, if he is chosen that high, there is no way he doesn’t start the year as the team’s starter. Crazier things have happened, and if they do, Murray might have some immediate value in fantasy.