Kyler Murray 2020 Fantasy Outlook & Value: ADP, Auction Value

Fantasy Rankings:

Overall: QB6, 87, ADP: 8.1, Auction: $17, Team: ARI, Bye Week: N/A

Last season, Kyler Murray followed in Baker Mayfield’s footsteps by fulfilling a success season one year after winning the Heisman trophy. Moreover, Murray was the second straight number one pick who became the most productive rookie QB in his draft class from a fantasy football perspective. Overall, Murray performed way better than expected and excelled in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.

Scheme: Air-Raid

Speaking of Kingsbury’s system, it is an Air-Raid offense that was first created by Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach. For those who are unaware, this system utilizes a vertical spread offense. Within this system, the objective is to pass every opportunity you can while only rushing the ball when it is opportunistic. In fact, most of the carries in Kingsbury’s scheme come during RPO plays where the QB (Murray) chooses whether to hand the ball off or quickly throw the ball. Similar to Chip Kelly’s famous Oregon offense, the quarterback needs to keep a fast-paced no-huddle tempo.

Kyler Murray is very familiar with this offensive play-style because his college head coach, Lincoln Riley, ran this set-up at the University of Oklahoma. This scheme meshes well with Kyler Murray’s mobility and arm strength because it features many read-option plays and stresses a deep passing attack. Therefore, Murray is likely to only improve his decision making and comfort level with every year of experience he gains with the Air-Raid.

Running Game:

Overall, the Arizona Cardinals offense was exceedingly productive in 2019. Despite the Air-Raid system’s emphasis on passing on almost every play, the Cardinals were able to rush for 124.4 yards per game, which ranked in the top ten. Interestingly, the Cardinals pass-first scheme prevented many defenses from loading the box, which increased the likelihood of long runs. Consequently, they were the NFL’s second-most efficient rushing attack (5.0 yards/carry).

During the first six weeks of the season, David Johnson and Kyler Murray were the leading players fueling the Cardinals rushing game. In fact, approximately 85% of Johnson’s rushing yardage was generated during this stretch. However, after various injuries, the Cardinals leaned on other backs, like Chase Edmonds, until they found a diamond in the rough with Kenyan Drake. Throughout the latter half of the 2019 regular season, Drake was able to excel for 643 rushing yards, 171 receiving yards, and eight rushing TDs.

Heading into the 2020 NFL season, Steve Kiem is looking to make moves at the running back position. For starters, they are currently looking to trade David Johnson, since cutting him would incur a $16 million cap hit. Even though the Cardinals are still in a stalemate with Kenyan Drake concerning a contract extension, they have made it clear that they want to re-sign him. Given how well Drake’s excellence as a rusher and receiver, re-signing him would bolster Kyler Murray’s fantasy production. Drake’s rushing efficiency in the spread system will likely open up the play-action game for Murray, where he excels as a passer. Plus, it will open some easy rushing lanes for Murray to be productive in the RPO and read-option games.

Passing Game:

Last season, Kyler Murray was an effective dual-threat QB who excelled at extending plays with his legs. He threw for 3,722 yards, posted a 64.4% completion percentage and 20 touchdowns. Surprisingly, Murray was able to play well without a quality receiving corps. While many of the young receivers have great potential, the Cards currently lack a high-end deep-threat or contested catcher WR. Larry Fitzgerald was solid, but he’s no longer the elite wideout he once was.

Heading into the off-season, the Cardinals will most likely upgrade their offense by adding another receiving weapon. They are currently linked to draft prospect Ceedee Lamb, as well as current New York Jet deep-threat Robby Anderson. If the Cardinals can land either Robby Anderson, that will give Kingsbury the vertical-deep-threat he’s been searching for in Arizona. This could potentially help the Cardinals extend the field and become explosive, offensive firepower. However, much of their success will be dependent on how well they can fix their offensive line struggles.

Upside:

Kyler Murray has a great chance to be an elite fantasy quarterback due to his dual-threat playing style. Last season, seven of the top ten fantasy QBs were dual-threat QBs, including Murray, who was the eighth-best signal-caller. Despite a mediocre receiving corps, and shaky running back situation, he was able to maximize his fantasy production. He can attack vertically along the sideline if the defenders stack the box, or use his legs to gain rushing yards if they leave five or fewer men in the box.

It is difficult to imagine how dangerous Murray will be in Kingsbury’s scheme if the Cards can retain Kenyan Drake and add another WR. If Arizona bolsters their offense, Murray could have a fantasy season similar to Lamar Jackson’s and Deshaun Watson’s seasons in 2019. If Murray can frequently find the endzone with his legs, he will be one of the best draft investments in fantasy football. Although, as of right now, Murray is a borderline QB1, with elite upside.

Floor:

In a draft class stocked with elite receiving talent, it’s unlikely that Arizona will miss an opportunity to scoop one of the highly talented WR prospects. Although there is no guarantee that this receiver will pan out well in the NFL. Last season, the Cardinals attempted to load up their receiving arsenal by drafting Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. Unfortunately, Isabella struggled to see action or attract a significant target share, and Butler failed to see the field in general. Hence caution should be exercised before fully believing that the Cardinals’ WR pick will play well.

Aside from the receiving corps, the Cardinals will need to upgrade their offensive line. Since 2016, the Cardinals have had four straight seasons with below-average offensive line efficiency. Despite Murray’s insane mobility, a porous offensive line will limit his rushing output, and hinder his play-action opportunities. However, it will be hard for Arizona to improve their OL, given all the holes they have on their roster. Kyler Murray’s floor is currently a borderline QB3/4 due to the strength of NFC-West defenses.

True Value:

Right now, Kyler has been slotted as the 6th ranked QB in fantasy football. Lineups.com has him projected to throw for 4,174 yards, 28 TDs while having approximately 12 INT. Furthermore, he looks to generate elite rushing production along with reliable passing output and efficiency. Fantasy owners should grab Murray between the third and fifth rounds of the draft. Moreover, he can be inserted as the starting QB in fantasy football early in the season.

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