Kyler Murray definitely lived up to his number one overall draft status as a rookie for the Arizona Cardinals. Despite his ranking, Murray fielded questions on whether his skillset would transition to the NFL, mainly due to his size. But he proved he could play, starting all 16 games as a rookie, and ending up as one of the best values at the position in fantasy football. This year, he is expected to notch in a top-five finish, skyrocketing his ADP in redraft compared to 2019. But, he is still a great value coming into his second NFL season.
Kyler Murray Fantasy Football Outlook for 2020
An Excellent Rookie Campaign
Murray quietly had one of the best seasons for a rookie quarterback in history. His 297 points were good for QB7, making him only the sixth rookie quarterback to ever notch a top-ten finish at the position. Overall, he put up the third-most fantasy points by a rookie ever, behind just Cam Newton and Robert Griffin.
This was behind a rookie head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, and a shoddy offensive line. For pass-catchers, Murray had the old-reliable Larry Fitzgerald as his primary target with Christian Kirk coming in right behind him. Kirk is a promising young player who could have been even more productive had he not missed three games with an ankle sprain. Aside from those two, Murray didn’t have a ton of other options to throw the ball to.
In the run game, the team started the year off with David Johnson at running back. But it was more like the ghost of Johnson. Since his ridiculous 2016 season, Johnson has been a shell of his former self. Kenyan Drake came in and took the run game to the next level, and with Johnson shipped off to the Houston Texans, Drake will be the full-time starter for 2020.
Trending Way Up
One of the biggest reasons to be high on Murray comes from what the Cardinals got in return for Johnson – DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has been one of the top wide receivers in the NFL for a while now, despite playing with a quarterback carousel in Houston until Deshaun Watson got there.
Combine Hopkins with Fitzgerald and Kirk and it gives Murray a true “pick your poison” entourage at the wide receiver position. Add that to the fact that both he and Kingsbury are entering their second NFL seasons. This fact cannot be understated. Continuity in systems is one of the key factors that differentiates second-year players from falling into the Sophomore Slump or continuing to improve.
To put it in perspective, second-year quarterbacks who stayed in the same system saw their completion percentage improve by almost two percent and their interception rate drop by .7 percent. And with Patrick Mahomes handing the torch off to Lamar Jackson as second-year MVPs, Murray is now in prime position to be the third quarterback in as many years to take the title.
Kyler Murray ADP and Outlook
Murray is ranked as the QB5 at the moment by FantasyPros. This is right behind Russell Wilson and right ahead of Watson. Overall it is a pretty safe spot for him and provides some great value. It is hard to imagine Murray having a worse fantasy season than guys behind him like Josh Allen, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees, so his floor is safe.
ESPN gives him a little more credit, ranking him at QB4, but puts Watson ahead of him. While it might be difficult for Murray to chase the two fantasy kinds right now, Jackson and Mahomes, a top-three finish is well within reach. Murray is one of the quarterbacks who might be worth reaching a little bit for, as he has high-reward, with relatively low risk.
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