April 20, 2024


Health know-how

Is Kyler Murray ready to take the leap?

The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all 32 NFL teams between now and the eventual start of the 2020 draft season. Here, we’ll tackle pressing fantasy questions, #FantasyHotTaeks, and team win totals. Next up, the Arizona Cardinals.

Kyler Murray was the seventh-highest scoring fantasy QB as a rookie. He’s being selected as the fifth QB this year. Is his upside worth proactively drafting or are you waiting on a QB in the classic analyst move?

Matt: Kyle Murray doesn’t really have holes in his outlook. He plays for a progressive offensive mind who was flexible enough to adjust when injuries struck his receiver corps last year. The team added a true alpha No. 1 wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. Not only will the former Texan provide a major boost to Murray as a passer, but he’s also a true coverage-dictating wide receiver who will boost the efficiency of the entire offensive unit by the opportunities he creates for others.

Murray is also already one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the game. He has access to a tremendous ceiling in addition to the safe floor he showed last year. That said, his draft price as the QB5 overall and therefore a mid-round pick (Round 5-7) in almost every draft puts him in a range where I won’t personally click his name simply because of the opportunity cost. But I’ll never talk you out of doing it based on the player.

Andy: Another way to look at this is that Murray was a top-8 fantasy QB in a season in which he only threw 20 touchdown passes and his top receiver finished with only 804 yards. His team has since added DeAndre [Expletive] Hopkins, one of Earth’s finest receivers. Murray’s upside as a runner is obvious, as he just averaged 5.8 YPC and very nearly led the Cards in rush yards. He benefits from year-to-year system and coaching continuity, too. He’s an easy bet for a top-5 finish. I’m in.

Scott: I see all the pro angles for Murray, but because the last two MVPs were sophomore year breakouts (Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson), I suspect the market has been an eyelash too proactive with Murray. There is nothing wrong with sticking a flag on the Arizona quarterback, but I see values that intrigue me more. As usual, the quarterback board is loaded with juiciness.

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Kenyan Drake became a league-winner last season after three Miami years of wallowing in mediocrity. With a current ADP of 17, fantasy players are clearly believing in him. Are you in the same boat, or is a regression to the mean in the cards for Drake in his first full season as a Cardinal?

Andy: Drake definitely gave us a well-timed December binge, deciding a few fantasy titles with 330 scrimmage yards and six TDs in Weeks 15-16. We can’t expect exactly that level of absurd production over a full season, but the man is clearly an unchallenged lead back in a dynamic offense. His receiving usage over his half-season with the Cards suggests he’s going to catch 50-60 balls, assuming good health. Drake’s setup suggests the potential for 1,500-plus yards from scrimmage and 8-12 touchdowns. So yeah, I’ll happily take him early in Round 2, if not higher.

Scott: There’s no floor here, but the upside has to excite you. Heck, Chase Edmonds went off on the Giants last year, and David Johnson was surprisingly useful for a month — this is an offense that elevates its running backs. Around the Round 1/Round 2 turn, Drake is a legitimate play-to-win pick. And although I generally don’t like chasing multiple backs on the same team, Edmonds isn’t a bad tandem pick (or worth chasing as a solo selection, in case Drake doesn’t come through).

Matt: He’s an ideal Round 2 selection. Kenyan Drake was a legit machine to end last season under the guidance of a coach who actually believed in his ceiling as a feature back. Even as Kliff Kingsbury tried to help the offense find its way as a passing unit, Arizona was an awesome rushing offense all year. The Cardinals were the No. 2 rushing offense in Football Outsiders DVOA. Even David Johnson and Chase Edmonds had successful fantasy weeks as the lead back before Drake came in and took the backfield over. Now that the team invested in Drake with a tag in the offseason, their commitment is clear. Totally in at draft cost.

Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are now behind DeAndre Hopkins on the Arizona WR depth chart. Kirk (123.6) and Fitzgerald (128.1) don’t have much separating their ADPs, but are you going for Kirk’s upside or Fitz’s safe floor in 2020?

Scott: I took a few boring WR6 shares of Fitzgerald in my best-ball warm-ups, but that’s the extent of it. In seasonal, where you have to call the shot ahead of time, I’m not excited for either of these chaps. I’m also hesitant to draft Hopkins in his adjustment year, especially given the unusual context of 2020.

Matt: I don’t see Christian Kirk or Larry Fitzgerald having much of a ceiling or safe floor, honestly. The two should cannibalize each others’ targets and Hopkins will command at least 130 looks as the engine of the passing attack. I’ll take a shot on Kirk in the double-digit rounds just in case he takes another leap as a player and Fitzgerald falls off a cliff. But I don’t see myself hunting for either with much gusto.

[2020 Draft Rankings: Overall | QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DST | Kickers]

Andy: Kirk’s upside is limited a bit by the fact that Hopkins should see 140-plus targets, per his usual. It sorta feels as if the Kirk breakout won’t happen until Fitz finally calls it a career and waits for his Hall of Fame call. Still, I’d give a slight edge here to the third-year pro over the 37-year-old legend. It’s tough to imagine Fitzgerald outproducing his 2019 line (75-804-4); Kirk simply needs to stay healthy to produce a career-best season.

Arizona Cardinals Projected 2020 Depth Chart


Matt: DeAndre Hopkins falls out of the top-five in the position. In the COVID-adjusted offseason, I’m even more hesitant about unfamiliar wide receiver-to-quarterback connections. I detailed in my series “Players who will shape 2020 NFL season” why Hopkins could beat the poor history of receivers changing teams. He is that good. Still, wide receiver has so many quality options at the top of drafts, that if Hopkins has a great year but finishes as WR6-9 with the Cardinals offense still thriving as a whole, it wouldn’t be shocking.

OVER/UNDER on 6.5 Win Total from BetMGM

Scott: Most of the crowd is chasing OVER, which is why you have to tack on the -164 juice. I’d take that side in a vacuum, but the extra bump chases me off a window trip. If you’re pro-Arizona, consider taking a stab at their exact win total, or putting a playoff ticket at +275. I’ll take the over for the purpose of this assignment, but I’ll fill my portfolio with other tickets.

Follow Matt: @MattHarmon_BYB

Follow Scott: @scott_pianowski

Follow Andy: @AndyBehrens

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