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  • Writer's pictureElijah Southwick

Kyler Murray Fantasy Football Forecast


Elijah Southwick

@ecsouthwick


Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is set to return to the team’s starting lineup after recovering from a torn ACL. It’s undetermined as of now whether his return will come in Week 9 on the road against the Cleveland Browns, or at home the following week against the Atlanta Falcons. But one thing is certain - the Cardinals have been patient and conservative with their franchise quarterback. Murray is healthy and ready to splash onto the fantasy football scene in a big way.


In a surprise announcement on Oct. 30, Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon announced that QB Josh Dobbs is no longer the team’s starter. Gannon said Dobbs would start in Week 9 immediately after the team’s 31-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but Dobbs was ultimately traded to the Minnesota Vikings just ahead of the NFL trade deadline. If the team chooses to wait one more week to roll out Murray, rookie QB Clayton Tune will get the spot start.


One way or another, Murray is about to return. He won the Heisman Trophy in college, was the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year. For fantasy purposes, Murray posted three top-10 fantasy football seasons at the quarterback position from 2019-21. His numbers in 2022 had him well inside the top-10 before his unfortunate ACL tear.


The biggest concern with Murray’s return could be a dip in his overall rushing production. Murray ran for 544 yards as a rookie, and 819, 423 and 418 yards in his next three seasons. But Murray will reportedly take the field without a knee brace, which is a great sign for his potential rushing stats.


Knee braces are not only physically restricting, but can give the athlete a false sense of security with their recovery if their injury is not fully healed. Brain activity can also be affected by wearing a knee brace or sleeve, according to a study published by the National Library of Medicine. Murray is fully healthy according to his head coach, so we could see the quarterback hit the ground running when he takes the field.


The Arizona Cardinals are having a poor season, but their performance has been better overall than most were projecting. The Cardinals are just 1-7, but they’ve also lost three games by one score or less. Josh Dobbs put up serviceable numbers in Murray’s absence. The team’s offensive skill position players have been average at worst, with WR Marquise Brown leading the team in several offensive categories. Rookie WR Michael Wilson and second-year TE Trey McBride have both been better than advertised.


The Cardinals offensive line has given up just 17 sacks on the year while protecting their backup quarterback. For reference, the Washington Commanders have allowed a league-leading 41 sacks, and the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed the least with 10. When Murray returns, he will have legitimate protection to showcase his arm talent.


Josh Dobbs is checking out of the Cardinals offense as the QB13 on the season in total fantasy points in six-point passing touchdown leagues. Murray’s ceiling is much higher than that on a weekly basis if we can believe Gannon’s claims that Murray is fully healthy. Quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson have disappointed in terms of their overall production, and Kirk Cousins just suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. There is plenty of room for Kyler Murray to emerge as a QB1 option in fantasy football once he’s back in action.


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